Becht with his wife, DeAnn, after being named Man of the Year. Photo via @Anthony_Becht.
On Saturday, former Buccaneers tight end and Buccaneers.com contributor Anthony Becht was named the "Man of the Year" by the Suncoast chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for his charitable work over the past several months. Becht, along with more than a dozen other participants, helped raise nearly $400,000 for cancer research.
Becht is well-known for his work in the Tampa community and was approached by several of his local colleagues about potentially participating in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Man of the Year competition. It is a 10-week challenge, with the winner being the participant who raised the most money. There are two separate awards given out – the Man of the Year and the Woman of the Year.
"When I heard that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society was making these drastic improvements (in their research) – when you're talking about a 90-plus percentile of helping people eliminate these types of cancer … I just thought it was so important to jump on board with this and try to help them out," Becht said.
Through his vast NFL Network, and with the help of friends and family, Becht himself raised $86,391 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
"I started from the ownerships with the five NFL organizations that I played for and I worked my way down," Becht said. "I had family and friends and everybody helping out. I did have one event. I had an event at Casey's Craft Bar Kitchen in Lutz and we had a celebrity bartender event. We had myself, (former Buccaneers quarterback) Vinny Testaverde, former Ray catcher Toby Hall and former Bucs tight end Alex Smith come out. They were celebrity bartenders at the event and the restaurant gave back 50 percent of the proceeds to my cause."
Through programs like the Man and Woman of the Year, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has been able to donate more than one billion dollars to cancer research. Becht said he was humbled to win, but the title won't be the memorable part of his experience.
"So many people stepped up and gave," Becht said. "It was an eye-opening experience. It just went to show how many people wanted to support the cause and how many people who I spoke to had a tie to leukemia and lymphoma. For me, as I went through this process, I really wasn't worried about winning anything. I was just worried about not being able to produce as much money as I could to help the cause.
"It put me in a position where, as the winner, obviously I raised the most money. But the important thing to me was just trying to get as much as possible to help this cause."