Spotlight: Q&A with Alyssa Holmstrom

Delaney Crace

HSE Senior, Alyssa Holmstrom spent a long 7 weeks fundraising after becoming a candidate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I sat down with her and asked her about her experience of helping LLS and ultimately winning the Indianapolis LLS Student of the Year.


Q1: What is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society?

A1: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest nonprofit organization which is working to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. LLS is the largest funder of the newest and most pioneering research to advance cures.


Q2: How did you become a candidate?

A2: I was nominated to be a candidate by a former candidate from the 2020 campaign. I was a team member under candidate Heidi Schlabach last year, and after being nominated I was interviewed and selected by the LLS staff to run for 2021.


Q3: What was the process of raising money and getting sponsors like? 

A3: The process of fundraising was challenging yet rewarding. The success in my fundraising truly came from personal asks to friends, families, and strangers who felt a connection to the cause. The process of getting corporations to sponsor my campaign was challenging, because I had to lead presentations and pitches over Zoom rather than in person. However, I was able to meet up with a CEO in California who ended up sponsoring my campaign, and was a huge part of me reaching my [fundraising] goal. In addition to the typical fundraising and corporate sponsors, I had weekly Dine-to-Donates at local restaurants such as Ale Emporium, Ohana, Panera, and Hot Box Pizza.


Q4: What does being LLS Student of the Year mean to you? 

A4: Being Student of the Year for LLS reassures me that I have made a difference in the world of finding a cure. I was able to raise over $116,000 for LLS, and being recognized as the top fundraiser in Indianapolis means that I have impacted the lives of those patients who are fighting now, and those in the future who will be touched by pioneering research that will help to fund a cure.


Q5: What was your reaction to winning LLS Student of the Year?

A5: After I was announced as Student of the Year I immediately was fulfilled with so much joy and relief that I started crying happy tears. The 7 weeks of fundraising were intense, challenging, and overall exhausting. Being recognized made all of the stress seem worth it, and I was honored to be named the Indianapolis LLS Student of the Year.