KABB reporter helps raise awareness via LLS competition

May 12, 2016

When Erin Nichols was asked to compete for the title of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year, she couldn’t say anything but “yes.”

The reporter for KABB-TV in San Antonio is a regular blood donor, and she is on the national bone marrow donor registry. Her mother died from ovarian cancer in 2013. And she also has done multiple stories on the need for blood, local blood drives and marrow donors. These stories focused on many patients that benefited from the BioBridge Global family of nonprofits, including The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center and GenCure.

In fact, she is in the competition to honor a subject of one of her stories, Kaylee Carew.

“She was a 16-year-old Regan High School student who needed a bone marrow donation,” Nichols said. “She had leukemia, and we did some stories on her last year. And unfortunately, she passed away in December, just a couple of weeks before Christmas. That really affected me.”

The LLS Woman of the Year competition is a 10-week initiative that aims to raise money for cancer research and patient support. Nichols’ goal is $50,000, an amount that would allow her to name a research grant in honor of Carew.

“Her family would get to pick what area of research it would go,” she said.

Nichols, a native of San Antonio and a graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word, was convinced to run by last year’s LLS Man of the Year, local attorney James Carter. She was interviewing Carter about a program his firm set up for children who were the victims of bullying when the LLS program came up in the conversation.

Nichols wasn’t sure she could take on the task of raising a large amount of money for charity.

“I come from humble means, with no experience in major fundraising,” she said. “The most fundraising I’ve ever done prior to this was for ovarian cancer 5k I did in honor of my mom.

“But they took me to lunch and explained the campaign, and I pretty much knew I wouldn’t be able to turn them down. I would just have to figure out how to do it.”

She said running for LLS Woman of the Year has been a learning experience, and it also has allowed her to raise awareness simply by bringing it up in the conversation.

“Awareness, to me, is such a huge component,” she said. “I know fundraising is a big goal, but just talking to people about cancer, blood donation, the bone marrow registry, the need for Hispanics to get on the registry, is important.”

Find out more about Nichols’ efforts at the website for the LLS Woman of the Year. To support her fundraising efforts, click here