Students of the Year Connecticut Westchester Hudson Valley

Sophia and Margot's Survivors | Sophia and Margot's Survivors's Campaign Team

Welcome to Sophia and Margot's Survivors' SOY Fundraising Page!

Feb 07, 2019

We are honored to participate in the 2019 Students of the Year program, a seven-week initiative in which select high school students from around the country participate in a fundraising competition to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Sophia's Story:

I am fundraising in honor of my mother, Karen, and in memory of her best friend Candice. My mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when I was just two years old. She was correctly diagnosed early on, however, it took an enormous toll on my entire family. She has been cured and healthy for 13 years now, though many people are not as fortunate as she.

During chemo treatment: Andrew, my brother, (age 4)- left; My mom, Karen- middle; Me (age 2)- right

At the age of 22, her best friend Candy was diagnosed with advanced Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and received multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation due to a recurrence. When she was 45 years old, she lost the battle to Lymphoma. This was primarily because of the long term effects of her treatment. Most of her life was spent battling the struggles of chemotherapy and radiation.

Candy was the strongest person I have ever met in my entire life. She fought through each tremendous obstacle that was thrown her way and had a smile on her face the entire time. Her life was a battle and she refused to give up, yet she still could not make it. Statistics usually show the number of people who survived five years after being cured, and they are seen as a success. However often times they do not live too long after that, in addition to spending those years trying to recover and become their old selves. There are far too many stories like Candice's and not enough like my mothers. This is why it is crucial for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to find more effective treatments, but it cannot be done without help.

Margot's Story:

I am fundraising in memory of my cousin, Alan Ostrow, who lost the tormenting battle to Myeloid Leukemia. Alan was diagnosed with the cancer at just 14 years old, and it took over the majority of his teenage years. His family strove to find proper resources, but there was not enough time or information to help. Alan died at only 20 years old. Alan's family will forever be affected by his struggles and the traumatizing events he underwent. With your help and my teams determination, we can make a change. 

We are proud to be raising critical dollars in honor of a young patient hero who is currently battling or is in remission from a blood cancer. Each dollar is a vote. The candidate team that raises the most money at the end of the seven weeks is named Student of the Year. Our mission is to not only raise the most money but also to bring attention to blood cancers like leukemia, which is the most common form of cancer in children and teens.

Since the early 1960s, five-year survival rates for many blood cancer patients have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled. And many LLS supported therapies not only help blood cancer patients but are helping patients with other cancers and serious diseases. In fact, drugs first approved for blood cancers are now approved to treat patients with stomach cancers, skin cancers, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

We really are changing the face of blood cancer!

All donations are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible. They'll not only support LLS-funded research but will help provide critical information and support for patients, and support advocacy for laws to ensure patients can access the care and treatments they need.

Please visit our website often and bring friends who would also like to donate!

On behalf of blood cancer patients everywhere, thank you for your support!

For more information about LLS, please visit


Show Comments (1)



  • Holly & Blair Greenberg

    What an important cause Sophia. Best of luck in your fundraising efforts. I hope you reach your goal!

  • Melissa Heimerl

    Hi Sophia, Your photo brings back memories! Thank you for taking on a cause that is so important to so many!

  • Mark Bernatz

    Hi. I work with your Mom at Syneos Health. She is a very special lady...thank you for sharing her story. It's wonderful to learn how research has led to treatments allowing her to have a full life with you! God bless. -Mark Bernatz

  • Julian Powe

    Wonderful work Sophia! All love to your extraordinary Mum! Julian xx

  • Oleksandr Shulzhenko

    Hi, Sophia. Good luck to you and Margot! Very proud of you both for your efforts! Love, Dad

  • Eve Emerson

    So proud of you Sophia! I worked with your Mom at IBM during that time. A very special group of colleagues pulled together to help Karen focus on her healing during her treatments. We all took turns taking Andrew to school and home and it was an honor for me to help. I was also priviledged to work with your special mom again most recently at Syneos Health. All the best to reach your goal! xoxo

  • Dilara Higgins

    What you are doing is amazing!!! I truly hope that you reach your goal!

  • Michael, Charlie & Allie Goldman

    Great effort, Sophia! Xoxo

  • Mauricio and Hindel Jesselson

    Your awesome mom

  • The Beerman Family

    Thanks for letting us be a small part of this incredible mitzvah.

  • Nancy Arnold

    You go girls!

  • Ryan Maglione

    Tremendous cause!

  • Jack & Terri Smith

    What a great cause. We are so impressed with everything you're doing to raise awareness -- and money! xoxo

  • Bill and Mary Claire Knapp

    Prayers for a successful campaign and for future good health.

  • Kristin von Donop

    Thank you for contacting me. I wish you the best as you work to achieve your fundraising goal.

  • Gary Copeland

    Good luck in reaching your goal.

  • Carmelanne & Daniel Caterisano

    Well done, young ladies! We wish you success in this great undertaking! Carm & Dan Caterisano

  • Beth Clausen

    Very proud of you Sophia and your efforts for such a worthy cause??!

  • Thomas Baker

    Sophia-I wish you good luck on this effort...thank you for doing this. My wife of 51 years was very active in the WNY Leukemia Society for many years...she lost a brother and her father to this dread desease. My contribution is made in memory of dear wife, Laurie Baker.

  • Jim & Anne White

    Thank you for all your hard work!

  • Julie Ray

    Sophia, we hope you reach your goal. All our best, The Rays

  • Stacey Moorehead

    Great charity! Great job Margot!!

  • Polly Perez

    way to go girls!

  • Cheryl Kinerk

    Good luck,Sophia

  • The Conniff Family

    Miss you, Sophia, Karen and Andrew! XO The Conniff Family

  • Michele Ostrow

    Margot, Thank you so much for doing this. I will always miss my brother and the work that you and your friends are doing now will help ensure that nobody else has that experience. Love, your cousin, Michele

  • Irene Morfit

    Thanks for supporting a great cause!!

  • Kay and Ted Wright

    Cheering from the sidelines! Xo, Kay, Ted, Lily, Maddie and Sammy

  • Susan Joseph & Marc Archer

    Looking forward to being a part of this FUNdraiser :) See what we did there. Thanks!

  • Alex & Elina Vives

    Hi, Dana Nares forwarded this link to us. We're glad we can be a part of this and look forward to meeting you and everyone attending.

  • Shirley Muraca are a wonderful reminder to all that we need to do for others.....Kudos to such a beautiful example.and a beautiful young lady! Tom and Shirley Muraca

  • Charbel & Nicole Chalfoun

    We are inspired by your story and your efforts, Sophia.

  • Ruth Genn

    Go Sophia! It's so awesome that you are doing this. Good luck meeting your goal!!

  • Amy K. Ro

    We are unable to come to the party, but thanks so much for supporting such as great cause! -Amy & Ruth

  • alicea mcadams

    Sorry we can’t make the party. But we’re happy to donate to a great cause. Thank you for organizing this event.

  • Daryn Jankovic

    With love and support to all the families dealing with cancer.

  • Liza and Keith helwig

    We are sorry to miss this party but happy to donate in support of such an important cause. - Liza and Keith Helwig

  • Laura Pascrell

    Looking forward to seeing you and supporting a great cause. Laura and David

  • anjeli sharma

    Thank you for organizing for such an important cause!

  • Amy Lupinski

    Thank you for doing this. I'm happy to donate to a great cause. Amy Lupinski

  • Emily Frieze-Kemeny

    Auction item- Red Bulls

  • Laura McKeon Seltzer

    Great job, Sophia! I know your Mom must be very proud of your efforts! Love, Laura

  • Amy Dunkin

    Sophia: All the time I spent with your mom at hockey rinks, I had no idea she had battled Hodgkins Lymphoma. And I'm so sorry to hear about Candy. One of my best friends is a 27-year leukemia survivor, and for all these amazing women, I am happy to contribute to this cause.

  • The Ronan Family

    Sophia, this is a great thing you are doing. Through your efforts, and the efforts of so many others, cancer will one day be beaten! We are very fortunate in Pelham to have so many like you engaged in working for the greater good. The Ronans

  • andrew colao

    Love your strength and passion. Thinking of you all. Andrew and Jennifer

  • Imelda Davis

    Very proud of you girls and all your hard work on this.

  • The Miles D Horton Family

    Thank you to Sophia and the Kemeny Family for their efforts to bring light to the darkness of cancer. We are forever grateful, the Horton Family

  • Amy, Kevin, Ian and Annie Porter

    Great job Margot, we are so proud of you and your teammate. It’s wonderful for you to honor our late cousin Alan who left us too soon. Xoxo Auntie Amy, Uncle Kevin, Ian and Annie

  • Joey Labbadia

    Sorry to miss the party. What a great cause!

  • Alyson Howe

    sending all the love and support. Howe Family

  • Mary Beth Martin

    Thank you for your hard work on behalf of a very important cause! Good luck!

  • Kathleen Porter

    Margot and Sophia: just an important cause. Thank you for your efforts.

  • The Rudd Family

    Thank you for doing.

  • O'Grady/Catana Family

    Wonderful campaign--good luck!

  • Christine Samuels

    One day I hope this will all be behind us.

  • Beth Shair

    Donating in honor of my dear friend Karen and other survivors. Keep up the good work, Sophia!

  • Daniel Zinn

    Happy to donate to a great cause!

  • Fay Leoussis

    Thank you for your efforts! I have lost a few friends to cancer, including lymphoma and applaud you. Fay Leoussis [a friend of Peter's]

  • Brigitte Hebert/Dr Paul Brisson

    Sophia, I command you for your hard work and dedication for such a great cause. Brigitte and Paul Brisson

  • Dorinda Capole + Isabella Capole-Chung

    Go Sophia! We're cheering you on!

  • Cristyne Nicholas

    So proud to be part of Margot and Sophie's team to help raise funds and awareness of LLS. Great job gals!

  • Jenny, Randy, Joshua & Justin Friedberg

    Thank you for your dedication to this important cause Margot Wies. We are very proud of you! Jenny, Randy, Joshua & Justin Friedberg

  • Susan and William McHugh

    Congratulations to Sophia Shulzhenko who is working in honor of her mother, Karen White and those who may suffer from Lymphoma in the future. We are extremely proud of her effiorts!

  • Bob and Margaret Zak

    Love to you Sophia for your hard work ! Margaret and Bob Zak

  • Michael and Maureen Heimerl

    Prayers for a successful campaign and for future good health. Wonderful cause!

  • MJ Carino

    Amazing work for a great cause. Very impressed to learn about two young women making a difference. Sophia, I work with your Mom and you're following in some impressive footsteps! Good luck - I hope you exceed your goal!

  • David Mayer

    What a great cause, Sophia. Thank you for all your hard work, and good luck!

  • Jody & David Small

    Way to go Margot! Thank you for raising money for such an important cause.

  • Mary Martino

    In admiration and love The Martino and Burke family Tony, Mary, Susan and Ryan

  • Bohmann Farrell family

    Great job Margot!

  • The Bennett Family

    Good Luck Soph

  • Candace O'Mara

    Dear Sophia, We're happy to participate in your fundraiser to celebrate your wonderful mother. Love, Candy and Brian

  • michael markovits

    Well done Sophia. I'm proud of you and I'm glad to support your effort. Mike

  • Jacob Richard Johnston

    Incredible cause that I am thrilled to support!!! God Bless!!

  • The Trevisans

    Go Margot go! We hope you surpass your goal. The world needs more strong young women like you.

  • Lisa van Capelle

    Your messages are poignant in why its important to continue to support LLS and its dedication moving forward. I have the pleasure to be on same team with your mom, Karen, and it’s so very moving to read your personal experience connected to the importance of supporting LLS mission.

  • Traci Young-Shotkoski

    So proud of you Sophia. You & your Mom are very special to us. All the best in this tremendous effort for such a good cause! ❤️The Shots

  • Lisa Gugliada Gould

    What a great cause Sophia and Margot. Sophia, your mom rocks. The Goulds

  • Robin Snyder

    Sophia- I heard of your effort from Jake (I am a work associate) and was moved by your story. You are an incredible person for raising awareness and hopefully, we can all together eradicate cancer. Your mom and Candy are true heroes! Emily and Jake - takes special people to open up their home for such an important event.

  • Sophia McSpedon

    Great Job, Sophia!

  • Hom Cannella Family

    Sophia & Margot, Keep up the good work! Hom Cannella Family

  • Dr James White

    Credit goes to "Sophia & Margot's survivors"

  • Dana and Brian Bober

    Good luck, Margot. Wonderful to see the difference you both are making!

  • Christine Benenati

    So great Margot, proud of you!

  • Tahbaz Family

    Wonderful effort! Thank you.

  • Amy, John & Rachel

    Fabulous job! Amy, John & Rachel

  • Rosemary Maggiore

    Good work girls!

  • Howell/Baxter Family

    Nice job girls! From the Howell/Baxter Family

  • Suzanne, Peter and Bennett Wies

    Margot, we are so proud of you and Sophia honoring the memories of Alan and Candy and giving hope to all for a cure! Love, Mom+Dad+Bennett

  • Joanna Weiss

    Thank you Margot for raising money for a great cause.

  • Heather Schneider

    Margot! You are amazing! Fingers crossed in the hopes that you reach your goal. Xoxo, heather, Steve & co

  • Bridget Gates

    Thank you!

  • Catheirne & Vincent Mazzaro

    Great job at running this campaign and bringing greater aware to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

  • Steven Schechter and Diane Winston

    Congratulations to Margot and Sophia for their hard work and dedication. Its great to see that you appreciate the value of community and helping others. Fondly, Steven Schechter and Diane Winston

  • Meridian Risk-The Solimines

    Nice job girls! The Solimines

  • Lisa Fulton

    Bless you Sophia! Keep painting and bringing your mama joy.

  • Anonymous

    Sophia, we commend your motivation. All the best in reaching your goal! Juliet & Phil Agranoff

  • Melissa Rich

    What wonderful friends you are. Happy to support such a great cause.

  • Jenna Case-Lee

    I'm so proud of Sophia's efforts in honor of what her mother and many others have gone through. I hope the goal is achieved!!

Contact us by email or call 888.LLS.7177.