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James Giftos (left) and Joe Vicari (right)

Right now, a world without blood cancer is just a dream, but the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is working to make it a reality. You can help support the LLS by voting for the Man and Woman of the Year, and one of the candidates is right here in Metro Detroit.

Joe Vicari, owner of Andiamo, a group of popular Detroit-area Italian restaurants (as well as Joe Muer Seafood), is in the running for the national title of LLS Man of the Year. The national winner will be announced at the Man & Woman of the Year Gala on June 11 in Warren. Andiamo will host the event.

This is not Vicari’s first time as a Man of the Year candidate, having competed locally for the title last year. He is competing nationally in an effort to support a world without blood cancers.

His drive for the cause comes from losing his friend James Giftos, founder of National Coney Island, to Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer related to Leukemia, in 2011.

Vicari and the other candidates will begin fundraising on behalf of the gala on March 30. Any money raised will go towards targeted therapies and immunotherapy that save lives and impact those affected by blood related cancers. LLS, according to the website, is funding $76.2 million nationally in grants in 2016, including nine here in Michigan. The work is producing advancements such as targeted therapies that zero in on cancer cells and kill them while leaving healthy cells intact.

The public can vote for their favorite candidate by donating to the gala on behalf of their chosen candidate. For each dollar raised on behalf of a Man & Woman of the year candidate, one vote is given to that candidate.

To vote for Vicari, make a donation at any Andiamo location or Joe Muer Seafood. Fundraising runs through June 11. For more information on donating on behalf of Vicari, click here.