POLO PLAYER. ATHLETE. HORSEMAN. MODEL. PHILANTHROPIST. BRANDON PHILLIPS.
Perseverance, athlete, humanitarian and champion, these are some of the attributes that come to mind when I think of Brandon Phillips, International Polo Player and cancer survivor.
Diagnosed with the life-threatening non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his teens, Phillips had a 50/50 chance of survival, with a prognosis of only six weeks to live. With the willpower of an army and refusal to lose, especially in the game of life, Phillips defied all odds by beating the odds and being cancer free. Since then, he’s taken more of an active role in fundraising and raising awareness, helping kids with cancer and acting as a Brand Ambassador for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
We were very fortunate to chat with Brandon about his love for polo, helping others and discussing the upcoming 4th Annual Polo For A Purpose, a charity polo match taking place on Monday, January 16, 2017, at the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida. Their mission: to find cures for people who have leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. The goal of LLS is not only to help cure these patients, but also to improve the quality of life for them and their families.
Tell us how you started playing Polo?
I grew up on a horse farm in King City, Ontario Canada. It’s about 35 minutes north of Toronto. Both my father and brother played polo as amateurs, so naturally, I grew up riding and playing with them at the Toronto Polo Club.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments as I’m sure there are many?
I have been very lucky to participate and win some of the most coveted tournaments around the world, but to be honest, my proudest accomplishment is what we are doing right now with Polo For A Purpose. Within 4 years, we have been able to exceed my fundraising expectations and are making solid contributions to LLS in helping families and children that are dealing with cancer.
Do you ever think about being diagnosed again?
I always think about being diagnosed again, it’s impossible not to. Honestly, it’s just a part of my life. Every bump, every pain, every cough, you think what if…. but I’ve accepted that. I realize that if it’s going to come back, I can’t control it. It’s in God’s hands. My job is to just live every day and make a difference somehow, to help others.
Any advice to share with parents who might have a child who is diagnosed?
My advice to parents of a child that has been diagnosed, is to stay positive. Your child feeds off your emotions and energy. Be positive, spend time with them and assure them that you are going to be with them every step of the way. Most importantly, parents need to keep their own notes on everything involving their kids. Every test result, every procedure, every everything! Doctors are amazing, but they are not great book keepers. My mother saved me many times with providing vital information that the doctors misplaced. This is key!
Tell us about the upcoming Polo For A Purpose event?
This year’s Polo For A Purpose will be our biggest event to date. We will have the same great luncheon and auctions, followed by an all-professional high goal polo match. The special addition this year is the live concert performance by the Gipsy Sound Revolution, aka The Gypsy Kings! This event will be awesome and we are all very excited.
How can people purchase tickets?
Tickets can be purchased directly from our website www.poloforapurpose.org or at the gate. Gates will open at 1:30pm, polo game will start at 2:30pm, followed by the concert at 4:00pm.
Tickets for the game and concert are only $40 per person. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Last year alone, Polo For A Purpose raised over $360,000 with a central mission to find a cure.
LLS is the largest voluntary cancer research agency, specifically focused on finding cures and better treatments for blood cancer patients. With the scope and scale to fund many projects at the same time, LLS supports hundreds of cancer scientists around the world. Unlike commercial enterprises, every dollar invested comes from charitable support from concerned donors.
Want to learn how you can make a difference, choose one of the options below:
• Leave a bequest
• Participate in a fundraising event
• Become an LLS advocate
• Shop the LLS eStore
Thank you Brandon for your time and for sharing your story. Good luck with Polo For A Purpose and we look forward to seeing you there. www.poloforapurpose.org