In 1993, in his mid-30s and with a growing advisory practice, John P. Hyland began looking for a local non-profit toward which he could devote some time. He chose the New Jersey chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a cause that was dear to him at the time because a beloved aunt had died from AML, a form of blood cancer. Hyland couldn't know at the time how fateful that choice would be.
Hyland soon began running Ironman triathlons to raise money for LLS. “My background was not that of a runner, I assure you,” says Hyland, 44. “Slightly overweight, it was a big stretch for me.” But it took off, so to speak; Hyland has run eight Ironman competitions for LLS since then. His involvement with the group grew in other ways as well.
“Professionally things started to blossom for me. I became a larger contributor to the organization,” Hyland says. Hyland has been on the state LLS board since 2000 and served a stint as president. He organized a Light the Night fund-raising event in Morristown that drew thousands and generated $400,000 last year. He recruited a key donor for LLS who contributed more than $1.4 million.
And then, a year ago, Hyland received some shocking news. He had contracted AML himself, one of about 12,000 people who are diagnosed each year with the disease. AML isn't passed on genetically; it was just bad luck. Hyland credits his survival thus far to his involvement with LLS as the Ironman events toughened him physically and allowed him to sustain the grueling chemotherapy regimen over a hospital stay that lasted a month.
“It's definitely a good sign that a year later, here I am, but not out of the woods yet,” Hyland says. “It's a real threat that I will relapse, and if you do, it's very problematic. It's something I live with, I struggle to live with, but you have to.” Married for 17 years and with three children, Hyland embraces a new perspective. “Just day-to-day things, that fact that you wake up in your own home with your wife and children around you, is a huge blessing.”See all of Registered Rep.'s Altruism Award Winners" class="old-inline-image">
Firm: Morristown Financial Group, LPL Financial
City: Morristown, N.J.
Years as rep: 20+
Years with current firm: 14
AUM: $153 million
Product mix: Managed accounts, 95%; insurance, 5%
Designations, licenses: CFP, CMFS, CFS; Series 7, 24, 63