Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s 4th Annual Polo for A Purpose with Brandon Phillips
Photos and Story by Lois Spatz
To see Brandon Phillips now, one would never think he almost didn’t make it. Watching him at the 4th Annual Polo for a Purpose amongst all the glamour and glitz of the polo world, sharing his story with all his friends and family at the International Polo Club in Wellington, one might think his life was perfect.
An accomplished high-goal polo player with the looks of a GQ model, kind and funny, smart and talented, one might not think of pain and struggle. But when he was at the age of 14, his parents were told he had six months to live. They decided not to tell him.
Brandon had been riding ponies since before the age of 2 and playing polo in Canada since the age of 11. His life was filled with soccer games and polo matches, the perfect life for a young boy.
And then one night, it all changed. At the age of 14 in the middle of his busy young life, everything stopped. Intensive swelling that was thought to possibly be a sports injury, turned out to be stage four Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
The odds were not good. But Brandon never accepted a death sentence. Through several grueling months of treatment, Brandon overcame death and defied the odds to become a professional polo player at the age of 17 and now one of the top players in the world.
“I was afraid for many years to tell people I was a cancer survivor,” Brandon shared during the IPC Polo for A Purpose luncheon on MLK Day. “Then one day, I grew up and I realized it was something I must share and I had to find a way to give back.”
Inspired by his close friend PJ Rizvi and the passing of her sister Penny Lee Blanchard who died of cancer in October of 1991, and with the help of some good friends, the Polo for A Purpose was organized to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On January 16th, MLK Day 2017 it is the fourth year, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to help families who are dealing with the crises of blood cancers.
And in a full circle of healing and truth, Polo for A Purpose is the way for that little boy so many years ago who suffered and fought , to give back to those who are now struggling to live. A realization that Brandon Phillips is more than just a handsome polo player, he is a man who is really living his true purpose. For more information visit lls.org.