It was one of those “I never thought it would happen to me” moments, according to TJ Becraft, Father to Sophia Becraft, the 2012 Girl of the Year. On stage to express his gratitude to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society — as well as the 2012 candidates for Man & Woman of the Year — TJ detailed how he had sat in the audience year before completely unaware that one day, his own daughter would be diagnosis with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
“My first experience with LLS was at this event some seven years ago,” TJ reminisced. “My wife and I were here to support a candidate and there was drinking and dancing… It was a good night.” Almost 9 months to the day later, his first daughter, Sophia was born. “Like I said, it was a GOOD night!”
Now 6, Sophia has responded well to treatment and continued to be an inspiration for those hoping to find a cure for blood cancers — including Cheryl Romero, that family friend the Becrafts had come to support as a MWOY candidate years earlier. In Sophia’s honor, Romero entered the competition a second time (unusual!) with her Team Sophia, hoping to fund a research grant in her name.
“Like I said, I never imagined this, but I’m thankful for the work LLS is doing… and especially thankful to everyone tonight for making Sophia feel like a princess.”
*The evening’s grand total, a goal-reaching $1.14 million, was helped largely by the title-grabbing 2012 Woman of the Year Amanda Tiede, who raised an unprecedented $233,500+, and Man of the Year Tommy Cleaver who then surpassed all records with a total of $271,993.