One South Philly resident is in the midst of running for a leadership spot of an organization she cares deeply about.
Capri Dessecker, the leader of The Capri Dessecker Team headquartered on East Passyunk, is currently campaigning for the title of Woman of the Year All-Star with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The only Philly-based representative competing on the national scale, Dessecker has spent the better part of the past decade helping to raise money for LLS and its ongoing fight against blood cancer.
Dessecker first became involved with LLS back in 2010 when a friend of hers invited her to one of LLS’s many Team In Training marathon events. As part of the program, in return for raising a certain amount of money, participants are trained for either a half or full marathon in a city of their choice.
“My girlfriend said, ‘Do you want to run a half marathon and get skinny?’ And I was like, ‘Of course I do!’ ” Dessecker said.
Upon raising $6,900, LLS sent Dessecker to Paris to train for a full marathon, which she said ended up being an amazing experience for her. Since then, she has taken part in 10 LLS marathons and has helped raise over $100,000 for the organization in that time. She cites her daughter as one of the motivating factors behind fully buying into LLS’s cause, for in the event either she or someone else’s daughter becomes ill with a blood cancer, she wants to ensure they get the right treatment.
“It’s important to me, because no one can tell you how common blood cancers are, especially amongst children under the age of 20,” Dessecker said. “Knowing that they could make the treatment better and safer and that I could have a part in that is really important to me. That’s what keeps me going now.”
To help raise money, Dessecker has organized many events over the years. Most recently, Dessecker coordinated the LLS Fight Cancer Shopping Day on May 7, during which more than 30 small businesses on East Passyunk donated a portion of their sales to her campaign. Businesses that took part included Good Buy Supply, South Fellini, Pistolas Del Sur, Sermania Jewelry and the Society Hill Dance Academy.
“I love being part of the avenue and I love the businesses,” Dessecker said. “There’s a good core of us that are very well-connected to each other. It was a torrential downpour, but people were still out shopping and it was great. Some businesses donated big, some businesses donated small, but just the fact that they participated was what made me happy.”
Dessecker hopes to be able to continue her efforts on a larger scale by winning the LLS Woman of the Year All-Star title. The honor is awarded each fiscal year as part of the organization’s national fundraising competition. Dessecker previously ran in 2015, coming up just short but still earning the Mission Award for spreading awareness of the organization. Nevertheless, she’s hopeful she can come out on top when the winners are announced.
“I’m painfully competitive to go along with the fire in my belly knowing that if my daughter were to get sick, knowing that I did something,” Dessecker said.
Beyond just winning the honor for herself, she hopes that winning it would bring some positivity to the city as a whole.
“To win it for Philly, especially when a lot of people are saying that bad things happen in Philadelphia, that there’s a lot of crime right now, and it’s where a lot of people are at odds, I would love to just bring it together and win it for Philly, not just me,” Dessecker said.
More information about Dessecker’s campaign can be found at linktr.ee/CapriCloses.