FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
Brandon Phillips is a professional polo player. During his career, Phillips has won many of the sport’s most prestigious tournaments. However, winning these tournaments is not the biggest victory he has achieved…surviving stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is.
Everything seemed to be falling into place for the young Phillips until the day he woke up with severe swelling and aching pain in his left leg. Twenty-four hours later, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and given a prognosis of six weeks to live. Phillips was just 14 years old.
Phillips endured five grueling months of intensive chemotherapy sessions yet never lost his spirit nor accepted death as an option. He beat the odds and went into remission.
Barbara Bell Cook
Prior to joining Polo for Life, Barbara had been at Lincoln Center for over 20 years creating and implementing a broad range of fundraising events generating $12 million in annual revenue. Her role included working very closely with the Chair and members of the Lincoln Center Board of Directors as well as representatives of Lincoln Center’s resident organizations.
Barbara directed and expanded events portfolio and had consistently grown net income. Her attention to detail, creative problem-solving skills, and passionate commitment will serve her well partnering with local organizations to meet the needs of patients and their families.
PJ Rizvi has been involved with Polo for Life since the beginning. As Event Co-chair for the past five years, PJ has been instrumental in producing PFL’s flagship fundraising event, Polo for a Purpose.
PJ tirelessly contributes to the event resulting in exponential growth year after year. Having lost her sister, Penny, to leukemia, PJ is motivated to help find a cure for blood cancers as well as help families facing the exact same challenge her family experienced.
“All the money in the world could not save my sister, but maybe the money we raise at this event might prevent another family from the tragedy and heartache we suffered”, said Rizvi.
RITA A. REIK, MD
Dr. Reik is the Chief Medical Officer for America’s Blood Centers (ABC), the national association which represents U.S. blood centers which collect about 60% of the national blood supply. America’s Blood Centers has played a critical role in the current coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, as it worked closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Biologics Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to implement the national COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CPP) program that has provided hundreds of thousands of therapeutic units of CCP to COVID- 19 victims. In her role at ABC, Dr. Reik also interacts routinely with international blood bankers to address emerging new global threats to the safety of the blood supply and maintain worldwide standards for transfusion safety. Dr. Reik also serves as Chief Medical Office for OneBlood, Inc., one of the three largest blood centers in the US, which serves Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina. In that role she oversees OneBlood’s team of board-certified Transfusion Medicine physicians, and the operational areas of