Scott Gegerson is a financial adviser from Rockville Centre who is raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as part of the nonprofit organization’s philanthropic Visionary of the Year campaign for Long Island.
Having lost both of his parents to blood cancers, Gegerson wanted to use his experience to help others dealing with these diseases. His mother, who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, was told she needed a bone marrow transplant. But while the surgery was a success, she had a severely compromised immune system, and died of a virus nine months later, in September 2018.
“Both my parents passed away within three years of each other,” Gegerson said. “My dad was sick the entire time, while my mom was going through her treatments.”
Scott was introduced to the organization by a close friend, Chris Berlow, a business coach and martial arts instructor who did a lot of fundraising. “He asked me to help him run a golf outing for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” Gegerson recalled, “and it was kind of a natural no-brainer.”
After learning about the society, Gegerson would turn to it as a resource while he was taking care of his father. “Oftentimes I would leave an appointment and not really understand what his oncologist was talking about,” he recounted. “They have a wonderful hotline that’s staffed by oncology nurses and social workers. They were extremely helpful to walk through this for us in lay terms.”
Gegerson said that after his dad died in Dec. 2021 he felt compelled to take action and use his experience to help others.
“I don’t necessarily believe in coincidences anymore but I would meet people that were diagnosed with blood cancer, whether it be clients or friends, and I always felt compelled to help out in any way, to maybe alleviate some of the things that I went through,” he said. “I told a number of people who were going through similar things, just to be as helpful as I could, so that people could go through the process a little bit easier.”
Compelled by his journey, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society asked him to participate in Visionary of the Year — one of their three major campaign initiatives.
“The campaign that I am specifically doing is a 10-week long contest. Myself and probably five or six other individuals on Long Island are all competing against each other,” he said. “I have a team of about 17 people under me that I’ve recruited and our goal is to raise $100,000 within a 10-week timeframe.”
Gegerson said that as part of the campaign, he is hosting a super raffle, which will pay out $19,000 in prizes and help raise $41,000 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. His sister, Lisa Guerriero, who is a physical education teacher at East Meadow, is also hosting a Zumbathon and will be selling t-shirts to help raise money for the campaign.
The 10-week fundraising effort culminates on June 6, when the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will host its grand finale where they will announce this year’s winner.
“It’s interesting because I think everybody has a very similar mindset,” he said. “They make it a competition because it gives people some motivation to go out there and raise funds.”
Funds raised by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society go directly towards research for drugs, treatments and research.
“I’m very passionate about this,” Gegerson said. “The research needs to get funded. And it’s actually working too, because 10 to 15 years ago blood cancer was a death sentence and now it’s very manageable for a lot of people.”