Sarah Jindra: Young Woman of the Year

sarahjindraleadLast year, one timely story by Sarah Jindra on her website,, helped Chicagoan Vin Tormo win the annual Man & Woman of the Year fundraising competition from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Nationwide, the fundraiser brought in $7.7 million in 2009—and in 2010, Tormo alone raised an impressive $118,000, a number that escalated quickly at the end of the competition when Jindra’s story appeared.

That’s powerful storytelling.

Because of her story’s success, Jindra, 29, was nominated to win Woman Of The Year for 2011. She committed to raising at least $10,000 for LLS—and even more remarkably, she’s doing this in her so-called “spare time,” between her jobs as a traffic reporter for WBEZ and the NBC 5 morning show, running INSPIREme and planning a wedding.

It started as so many of life’s more interesting challenges do—with a chance encounter. This one came during a golf-themed bachelorette party, which coincided with a LLS fundraiser at which Tormo was singing for dollars. Jindra was impressed with his passion as he performed at the bar. A friend later explained that Tormo was fighting leukemia, and that LLS funds raised helped pay for his experimental drugs. Jindra knew she had to help, and wrote her story.

Man & Woman of the Year is a very clever fundraiser. LLS nominates individuals, who commit to fundraising for a ten-week period. The man and woman who raise the most earn the titles, and the winners are announced at the Grande Finale Celebration, held each May.

Tormo said Jindra’s story helped show why the cause was so important to him, and helped him bring in some money for the cause. Impressively, the total contribution by all Chicago nominees last year was more than $647,000.

During Week Two of this year’s contest, over hot cocoa in a coffee shop near the bridal store she will visit following our interview, Jindra explains, “I know that I won’t raise enough to become woman of the year, but I think I have a chance at winning the citizenship award for helping spread awareness!” She grinned and pumps her fist high.

Whatever amount she actually raises, Make It Better knows Jindra is already a winner! You can help her and fight cancer too, by bidding on a ride in the news helicopter and overnight stay at a nearby hotel, visiting to donate or attending the Grand Finale to be held Friday, May 20 at the Hyatt McCormick.

Go Sarah!