03/12/12 John Montgomery, a Plymouth resident and part-owner of Coffee Lodge and Bakery, was recently nominated for “Man of the Year” from the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

Montgomery, currently an IUSB student studying marketing, has been in remission for several years from the leukemia that first showed up in his body when he was in eighth grade. Two years ago, he and his family built a Hope House in Plymouth, with proceeds benefiting Riley Hospital for Children.  Now, Montgomery is involved in another fundraising effort to assist families struggling with cancer: As a Man of the Year nominee, Montgomery must raise more money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society that the other three nominees.

“It feels awesome (to be nominated), just because I can get another chance to give back to people who have the same sickness that I did,” said Montgomery.  “The money goes to the LLS, 80 to 90 percent of it actually goes to families in need — to help with any financial burden that they have.”

He’s raising the money by working with a team — his girlfriend, Arielle Blackburn with First Source Bank, Justin Murphy with Oliver Ford, and Angel Balsley with Farm Bureau Insurance. Each member of the team Montgomery is planning several small fundraisers to take place at the Coffee Lodge, and spreading the word through a Facebook page and website. He is also planning to collect change from vehicles at the Michigan/Jefferson intersection at some point.

“I am the only leukemia survivor who is competing in this year’s fundraiser,” said Montgomery. “I know firsthand exactly what it’s like to go through what the people we are trying to support go through.”

Montgomery has until April 25 to raise the money. He also must collect items to be auctioned off at the fundraiser’s grand finale event in Fort Wayne April 27. Every dollar that he raises will count as one vote towards the Man of the Year title.

“The easiest way to donate is to go to the Facebook page, by searching for ‘Montgomery for Man of the Year 2012,’ and follow the link to the website,” said Montgomery. “You can also drop off donations at the Coffee Lodge — checks should be made out to Leukemia Lymphoma Society with my name in the memo box. All donations are greatly appreciated and are tax-deductible.”

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