Liam Fitzgerald, affectionately known as the “Fist-Bump Kid,” has been named Man of the Year by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society after the 9-year-old boy raised nearly $154,000 for the organization.
“The titles are awarded to the man and woman in each community who raises the most funds during the ten-week campaign; the top local fund-raisers in the country also win the national titles,” the society’s website said.
Liam’s honor was announced by the society on Thursday at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.
His mother, Christine Fitzgerald, of Northborough, said the announcer placed Liam on his shoulders to show the crowd the newest “Little Man of the Year.”
“It was very exciting,” she said. “Everyone was cheering him on.”
Afterward, Liam and his mother shared a celebratory dance to his favorite song, “Uptown Funk,” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars.
“He knows he was helping other children,” his mother said.
Liam rose to Internet fame when a YouTube video in November showed him sitting on the Boston Bruins bench and fist-bumping the players as they returned to the locker room before a game against the Florida Panthers in 2010.
Since Liam raised more than $50,000, the family can choose which research portfolio receives the money, according to the Leukemia Society rules. Christine said she is leaning toward giving the money to acute myeloid leukemia, since some of Liam’s friends suffer from the disease.
She said there have been great strides toward curing acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which Liam was diagnosed with in 2010, so she wants to spread the money elsewhere.
Liam, who also has Down syndrome, has since recovered from his treatments and celebrated two years cancer-free in May.
The family members — Christine, her husband, and their four sons — plan to visit their summer home in New Hampshire to celebrate Liam’s new honor.Rebecca Fiore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.