Coral Springs, Fla. (PRWEB) May 12, 2014 - On Saturday, Michelle Fee, CEO and co-founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, was named the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society® (LLS) Woman of the Year after her campaign raised a record-breaking $291,382.
"We were motivated to raise the money to help fight cancer by our friends and family who are affected by the disease," said Michelle Fee, CEO and co-founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. "It is a welcomed surprise to be crowned Woman of the Year in honor of our loved ones who have battled cancer – I view them as the true heroes."
Fee was inspired to run by Myra Garcia, who lost her fight with cancer last year, and who is the older sister of Vicky Garcia, COO of Cruise Planners and a past Woman of the Year honoree.
"I am honored that Michelle ran for LLS in my sister’s memory and it means so much to me and my family," said Vicky Garcia, COO of Cruise Planners. "The Cruise Planners family continues to be passionate about giving back and we are honored to make such a positive impact."
LLS’s South Florida and Puerto Rico Woman of the Year is a prestigious national campaign that focuses on raising money for the fight against blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. During the campaign, Fee, along with other movers and shakers in South Florida had 10 weeks to accumulate the most "votes" – every dollar raised counted as one vote and fundraising totals were kept secret until Saturday’s grand finale celebration. For the first time ever, two candidates raised more than $100,000 each toward the campaign, and Fee took home the crown by more than doubling the standing record. The Cruise Planners team used creative fundraisers, online auctions, big events and small ones to raise the record-breaking funds.
"Everyone is affected by cancer in some way, and our team remained dedicated to helping fund a cure," Fee said. "I know Myra is looking down upon us as we celebrate life and fight for those who need support."
As an icon in the travel industry, and co-owner of the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the travel industry, Fee focused on leveraging her travel-industry partnerships, cruise line relationships and community involvement throughout South Florida in an effort to raise critical cancer-curing funds for LLS.
Some of the brands that supported the campaign include: AMAWaterways, Apple Vacations, Azamara Club Cruises, Beaches, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Collette Vacations, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Vacations, Effy Jewerly, Funjet, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Paul Gaugin, Royal Caribbean International, Sandals, Silversea Cruises, SproutLoud, Star Clippers, Sunset Yacht Cruises, Travel Impressions, Viking Cruises, Zulu Nyala African Safari.
Candidates run in honor of the Boy & Girl of the Year, who are local blood cancer patient survivors and sources of inspiration chosen for their strength and winning attitudes to motivate each candidate during the campaign. This year’s Boy of the Year is Josh – he and his family represent the voice for the thousands of patients who have been helped by LLS’ patient services and research.
LLS will continue to fund leading-edge research for treatments and cures, increase government advocacy, and education programs for hundreds of thousands of patients battling blood cancers.
Through the CP Cares umbrella program, Cruise Planners is committed to raising and donating funds to various charities as well as providing hands-on service to the community. In 2014, CP Cares will continue to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® while also contributing to various local organizations throughout the year.
Cruise Planners-American Express Travel is the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the travel industry. Cruise Planners operates a franchise network of more than 900 experienced travel professionals who independently book amazing vacation and travel experiences for their clients. The Home Office team positions franchise owners for success by providing them with innovative marketing, booking and lead-generating tools as well as professional development and hands-on training with the industry’s top executives. The company continues to be lauded and was named No.1 Cruise Tour / Travel Agency by Entrepreneur for the past 11 years and recently featured in Entrepreneur as one of the top 30 franchise innovators in technology.
Headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla. for 20 years, Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every major cruise line. Accolades include a record 11 Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly in 2013, Special Needs Group Accessible Travel Advocate Power Partners™ for 2012, American Express Travel Representative Excellence Award for eight years in a row (2004 – 2011), American Express Agency of the Year (2010), Royal Caribbean International Home-Based Partner of the Year (2007 – 2013), Royal Caribbean International President’s Award for Overall Achievement for 2012, Norwegian Cruise Line Franchise Agency of the Year (2011-2013) and Home-Based Agency of the Year (2010), Celebrity Cruises Home-Based Account of the Year (2013) and Southeast Region Travel Agent Partner of the Year (2010), American Express Vacations Globe Award (2008 – 2012), Globus Family of Brands Premier Agency Partner (2009- 2012), Platinum Circle Member with Viking River Cruises (2009-2012) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises Top Producer. Cruise Planners is one of the Top 50 franchises for Veterans according to GI magazine, has been named one of the Top 25 franchises for African-Americans by Black Enterprise magazine and is a member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. For information, visit http://www.cruiseplanners.com.
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SOURCE Cruise Planners–American Express Travel
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