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Friends fight with leukemia inspires triathlete
In running for fundraiser title
David Sawyer has been nominated for Man of the Year in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Georgia Chapters annual contest. Hes up against 10 other men to see who can raise the most money for the cause by June 8. - photo by Crystal Ledford

Want to help?

Anyone wishing to help David Sawyer toward the title of Man of the Year with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Georgia Chapter can contribute at, or register to participate in the Running Colors 5K at 8 a.m. May 25 at Chattahoochee Pointe. To register for the run, go to

A north Forsyth man’s love of running will hopefully help him raise awareness and funding for a worthy cause.

David Sawyer, a forensic accountant, has been nominated for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Georgia Chapter’s Man of the Year title.

Male and female nominees spend a 10-week span — this year that’s March 28 to June 8 — attempting to raise more money than their competitors for the organization, also known as LLS.

Sawyer first got involved with the cause a few years ago after being inspired by his friend, Andrew Johnston.

“I do a lot of triathlons and someone I know who had leukemia and actually is a cancer survivor is actively involved in triathlons, too,” he said of Johnston.

Sawyer said Johnston, whom he has known since 2007, was diagnosed with leukemia when was 32 years old. He’s now 40.

“While he was being treated for leukemia, he actually qualified for the Iron Man World Championship in Hawaii and that’s very impressive,” Sawyer said.

“Andrew has done that twice. Less than 2,000 people worldwide qualify for that every year, so it’s quite an accomplishment.”

Sawyer noted that Johnston also became the first leukemia survivor to be the overall winner of an Iron Man distance triathlon.

“That was held down in Florida and he was 40,” Sawyer said.

Throughout Johnston’s battle with leukemia, he has used a drug that was founded and funded by LLS.

“So he’s really a success story in that not only has he survived leukemia but he’s also thriving and that’s kind of the platform for my campaign [for Man of the Year],” Sawyer said.

“That’s what I want people with leukemia and their families to see, is that there really is life after leukemia. You can beat it.”

Appropriately enough, Sawyer’s primary fundraiser for the campaign will be a 5K run set for 8 a.m. May 25 at Chattahoochee Pointe in south Forsyth.

“We’re doing the Running Colors 5K,” he said. “… All the proceeds will go to LLS and will support my campaign.”

Sawyer will also be participating in the 11Global Triathlon on May 11 at Lake Oconee in honor of LLS.

“I’ll be doing that with Team in Training, which is an LLS organization,” he said. “For that race, I’ll be shaving my head just to stand side by side with cancer patients.”

A Web site has also been set up where contributions can be made to LLS on behalf of Sawyer’s campaign. He said anyone interested in the cause can go to the site, at

Sawyer is up against 10 other men from around the state for the title.

He represents his office, Frazier & Deeter, in Alpharetta. He said he got more actively involved with LLS after going to work there in October.

“The cause is really near and dear to their hearts because two of our partners are actually cancer survivors,” he said.

He’ll find out during the LLS Grand Finale Gale in Atlanta whether he’s taken the title.

Last year’s Woman of the Year, Victoria Slocum, resides in Forsyth County.

Sawyer, who has lived in the county since 2000 with his wife of 17 years, Kelly, and their two children, said he hopes to continue the trend of Forsyth residents taking the top honor, but mostly he’s just happy to get to help LLS.

“I’m really honored and humbled to be able to [be a nominee],” he said.

“We grow through new experiences and learning new things. I’ve learned a lot and it makes me really grateful for good health.”