Graduate, Patient, Advocate

Tom Hickernell, under treatment for leukemia, participated in his May 2012 graduation via teleconference from Milstein Hospital Building.

Thomas Hickernell’12 has been nominated by the New York chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as 2013 Man of the Year. On April 26, 2012, the day he fulfilled his requirements for graduation from P&S, Tom was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia.

“I was set to begin a research fellowship followed by residency in orthopedic surgery at Columbia that June, so it was a devastating blow,” Tom says.

Determined to make something positive out of a negative situation, Tom’s sister, Katherine, set up “Team Tom,” a group of his dedicated and supportive family and friends, to support the LLS Light the Night fundraising event. While Tom underwent multiple rounds of intensive chemotherapy, he also helped the team raise more than $18,000 for the October 2012 event. The total made Team Tom one of the top fundraising teams in New York City.

Now in remission and actively pursuing translational research projects in Columbia’s Center for Orthopedic Research, Tom has accepted the LLS nomination to participate in the Man and Woman of the Year competition. “I will be competing with several other men and women to see who can raise the most funds for the LLS research and patient support initiatives in a 10-week span this spring.”

The campaign kicked off March 27 and ends June 6. The man and woman who raise the most funds during this window will be named the Man and Woman of the Year. “Please consider joining ‘Team Tom’ to support my candidacy,” Tom says.

More information on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Man and Woman of the Year campaign, and Team Tom can be found at