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Findlay Toyota finance director has good reason to support LLS

Longtime Findlay Toyota Finance Director Anthony Velardi is a big fan of the annual Leukemia &Lymphoma Society event honoring the 2019 Southern Nevada Man and Woman of the Year. He will be participating in the grand finale May 17 in the Rio’s Brasilia Ballroom.

A 44-year resident of Las Vegas, the personable Velardi, 48, walks the walk and talks the talk when discussing the Leukemia &Lymphoma Society. For good reason: As a candidate for Man of the Year, he is raising funds for the worthy cause.

Velardi, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, is battling leukemia, although you wouldn’t know it. He doesn’t look ill and he says that he feels fine.

“I had a routine checkup in March of 2017,” said Velardi, who has been with the Findlay organization for 24 years. “I was told that there were some abnormalities that they found in the blood. The doctor told me to go Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, so I went there soon thereafter. … I didn’t think it was any big deal. As soon as I told them my last name, I knew I was dealing with the real deal.”

Velardi had to address the issue before going to oncologist James D. Sanchez in the northwest valley.

“Dr. Sanchez told me I had stage II chronic lymphocytic leukemia,” Velardi said. “The cancer is in my blood but progresses slower than other types of cancer, so I felt good about the fact. I am in the wait-and-watch stage to see where the cancer goes from here.”

The key now is helping others who are affected by cancer while also creating an awareness program through LLS.

“The biggest advice that I can give to others facing cancer is to get checked up as soon as possible,” Velardi said. “I’m a good example of someone who seriously had no idea whatsoever what I was facing was cancer. However, now that we have my own situation addressed, I’m much more at ease.

“Too many times people wait until it’s too late.”

Velardi’s first fundraiser for the LLS was at Corks ’n Crafts, a bar situated in Downtown Summerlin. Other events can be found by following Findlay Toyota on Facebook and Instagram or by making donations at https://pages.mwoy.org/snv/vegas19/avelardi.

He is also involved in the seventh annual Links for Leukemia Man &Woman of the Year Charity Golf Tournament fundraiser April 15 at TPC Summerlin. The event will begin with an 11 a.m. lunch followed by a shotgun start at noon. An awards dinner is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

“My entire family is helping me with this,” Velardi said. “My daughter, Addison, 9, makes chocolate-covered caramel pretzel sticks that she sells at Findlay Toyota.”

Findlay Automotive Group CFO Tyler Corder said the automotive umbrella of dealerships has been a huge supporter of LLS for several years.

“For the past three years we’ve had a Findlay employee competing for Man or Woman of the Year,” Corder said. “Three years ago, Sarah Wilbur of Findlay Kia was Woman of the Year. Two years ago, John Barr from Findlay Toyota raised a record amount of money ($200,000) and was named Man of the Year.

“We’re going to fully support Anthony and hope to help him raise enough money to be Man of the Year. We’re competitive, so even though it all goes to a great cause, we always want to win.”

Velardi’s leukemia diagnosis hit close to home.

“Anthony has been a part of our team for over 20 years, and we’re committed to help find a cure for him and all of the others fighting blood cancer,” Corder said.

Further information on the Leukemia &Lymphoma Society can be found by calling 702-436-4220.

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