When the local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man & Woman of the Year Jim Henning, left, and Sandy Papadakis surround cancer survivors Carlee Vessel and Mathew Gliddon, they know their fundraising efforts make a difference.

Sandy Papadakis of Tarpon Springs, and Jim Henning of Tampa, and seven other candidates, raised $160,000 in 10 weeks as they competed to be the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man and Woman of the year. Papadakis won by hosting a "Staying Alive" disco party. Henning simply asked 100 of his best friends for money to fund blood cancer research and patient services.

Every dollar raised counts as one "vote" and they were tallied through the live and silent auction at the Suncoast chapter's gala dinner May 24 at the Pepin Hospitality Center. The candidates competed in honor of the Boy and Girl of the Year, Mathew Gliddon and Carlee Vessel, local children who are blood cancer survivors. The two winners now compete against dozens of other finalists for the national Man & Woman of the year title.