Running to help bring awareness to her cause
Deirdre Strunk, spa director for the Spa Costa Del Sur at South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa, wasn’t a runner before a life changing event. But now she has completed three half marathons as well as won not only an important competition but raised money to help both a cause as well as her husband.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society major fundraiser is the Man and Woman of the Year competition. For 10 weeks men and women competed against each other to raise the most money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society blood cancer research. The competition ended in the grand finale gala held at the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa. No one knew how much anyone else had raised until the winners were announced. The 2014 Woman of the Year, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Southern Nevada, broke all records in the chapter’s history by raising over $50,000 in the 10 weeks. That woman was Strunk.
As she explained, “In 2010 my husband was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia that is not currently curable or treatable. Because I don’t take no for an answer and I wanted my husband to be well, we traveled to the Mayo clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. and MD Anderson in Houston only to hear the same diagnosis and outlook. There is nothing they could do for this disease. It was then that I knew I had to do something. I could not sit around and let cancer win.” She did some research on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and found that 79 cents of every dollar goes directly to research and got involved at that point.
For this year’s competition, “with the help of my generous friends, family and everyone who contributed to my campaign, I raised $61,500 and received the honor of choosing a research portfolio for my husband’s type of leukemia. I requested that the grant be named after him—Donnie Strunk,” she said.
Deirdre Strunk serves as the LLS Las Vegas Chapter Board of Directors Secretary and the Man & Woman of the Year Nominating Committee Chair and leads a team of runners each year with Team in Training to raise money. “Every year my family and friends train with Team In Training and raise money for LLS while training for the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. It’s a great tradition.”
After to moving to Vegas in 1995 and working in the medical field and the restaurant business for many years, Strunk enrolled in massage therapy school in 1999 as her first step toward a long career in the spa business. She recently attended 300 hours of yoga teacher training to further enhance her health and wellness background.
She credits her first spa director Darryll Leiman who pushed her to grow within the spa industry. She also stated that Michael Gaughan (owner of the South Point) is one of the most intelligent and caring individuals. She believes this, along with his smart business sense, is the secret to his success.
Deirdre Strunk also enjoys spending time with “my family whenever we get together as my two eldest children have grown into wonderful adults and live on their own. I’ve loved seeing them grow into the people they are today. My last blessing, my youngest, continues to keep my husband and me on our toes with her intelligence and wit at her mere 9 years of age.” As for personal time, she takes hot yoga classes at her favorite studio, TruFusion Yoga and an intense, yet fun, boot camp workout at Raw Fitness.
Strunk tells everyone that, “Every cause is important. Please give when asked to donate no matter how big or small your donation can be. Every donation counts. No one ever becomes poor by giving.” Deirdre Strunk is truly a Fearless Female.