Father, daughter honored for their work supporting nonprofit

Tom Kendall (standing) speaks while his daughter, Lisa Kendall-Maxson (seated), listens during a Be The Match event. The father-daughter combo was recognized by the organization recently. Contributed
Tom Kendall (standing) speaks while his daughter, Lisa Kendall-Maxson (seated), listens during a Be The Match event. The father-daughter combo was recognized by the organization recently. Contributed

Family wanted to give back after her fight against blood cancer.

TROY – Lisa Kendall-Maxson and her dad, Tom Kendall, say they can’t do enough to give back after her battle against acute myeloid leukemia and a successful stem cell transplant.

They’ve focused their efforts on a nonprofit organization instrumental in her transplant, the Minneapolis-based Be The Match Foundation.

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When the organization’s annual Ohio fundraiser learned it was losing its home in Columbus a few years ago, they jumped in and convinced organization leaders that the event could be held in Troy, although it’s much smaller than Columbus.

They made the run-walk event go first at Troy’s Treasure Island Park before it was paired with the popular Tour de Donut when it came to downtown Troy.

For their efforts, Tom Kendall and Lisa Kendall-Maxson in late 2020 were named recipients of the Be The Match Foundation’s spirit award.

The Livermore Spirit Award is given to an organization supporter who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to its life-saving mission of delivering cures to patient facing blood cancers and other diseases, said Stacey Chase, senior manager, community fundraising, Be The Match Foundation.

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She remembers talking first with Tom Kendall about Lisa and her challenges and then with both father and daughter.

“They wanted to give back and make an impact on other patients and their families. We worked together to launch the Buckeye Donut Dash for Be The Match,” Chase said.

Additionally, both have become legislative advocates for Be The Match representing the organization and its mission in front of congressional representatives.

Kendall-Maxson also became a volunteer courier flying around the country as needed, picking up stem cells and delivering them directly to patients.

“We chose Lisa and Tom because they have persisted through obstacles and hold their Buckeye Donut Dash each year, putting in hours and hours of work and always with great energy and spirit,” Chase said.

The Be The Match registry is dedicated to creating an opportunity for all patients to receive the marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant they need. Fundraising activities also will include a bone marrow registry where people can be swabbed to be a bone marrow donor.

Kendall-Maxson was diagnosed in 2011 and underwent a stem cell transplant in Columbus a few months later.

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She learned more about Be The Match after her transplant. “I didn’t really know what they were talking about. At that point, I was too sick to worry about that,” she said.

Once she was doing better, nurses told her more.

The family became involved in Be The Match fundraising in Columbus first. The Troy events have raised more than $60,000.

There was no event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but they hope it will return this summer.

Kendall-Maxson said she and her dad enjoy being organization ambassadors.

She also has completed 18 trips as a courier for transplants. “I had no idea how my cells got to me. Here it was an actual person who did the transport, not Fed-Ex,” she said.

She hopes to someday do international trips for the program. “Somebody risked their life to deliver cells to me,” Kendall-Maxson said.

“My dad and I have always been close … we both live to help others,” she said.

Her dad and mom, Beverly, have instilled the need to give back to others in her and her children, she said. Kendall-Maxson and husband, Tom, have three children.

“We are dedicated to it. It has been a big part of our life since Lisa had her diagnosis,” Tom Kendall said of Be The Match. “This was our way of paying it back. It is such a great thing to work together as a family.”

For more information, visit bethematch.org.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.

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