The Massachusetts Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society named former Brockton Rox mascot and Brockton High School graduate Chris Sawyer the recipient of the 2007 Massachusetts Man of the Year Award at its annual gala at the Boston Westin Waterfront hotel on Wednesday evening, May 30th. The Man of the Year Award is granted annually to the individual who raises the largest amount of money for the Society’s mission of funding blood cancer research and providing aid to patients and their families. Chris Sawyer, who passed away from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last October at the age of 24, was the first candidate ever nominated posthumously for the annual award.
The Brockton Rox nominated Chris for the honor and served as his fundraising campaign committee, with the support of the Sawyer family. The Rox raised $41,000 for the Leukemia Society over a ten-week period from March 21st through May 30th. Each dollar raised was considered a vote for Chris Sawyer in the charity’s annual campaign, which featured business leaders from around the state who came together as candidates to raise money and compete for the prestigious award.
Chris graduated from Brockton High School in 2000, and went on to attend Syracuse University where he entertained Orange fans as "Otto the Orange," one of the most beloved mascots in all of NCAA athletics. He performed as Rox mascot K-O in 2004, entertaining Rox fans of all ages with his energy and charisma. Chris’ passing was felt throughout Rox organization and the Brockton community at large.
During the 10-week campaign, the Rox received donations from over 675 donors from more than 30 different states, including generous contributions from hundreds of Rox season ticket holders, Syracuse University alumni, Brockton High School alumni, employees of Brockton Public Schools, and the W.B. Mason Company – Chris’ former employer. Emmy-award winning journalist David Robichaud also produced a story of Chris Sawyer’s life and the Man of the Year campaign which aired recently on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston.
On hand at the Gala where the award was presented on Wednesday night were Chris’ mother and father, Cathy and Wendell, and his sister Keri. Along with the family was Rox Executive Vice President Michael Canina, General Manager Andy Crossley, and campaign co-chairwoman Terri Kuskoski.