Weddington Middle raises $29,000+ for cancer research
For the past nine years, Weddington Middle has participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Pennies for Patients fundraiser, collectively raising tens of thousands of dollars in support of the nonprofit health organization’s mission of finding cures for blood cancers.
But this school year, the students wanted to find a way to help even more. So they set their sights even higher than last year’s $16,000 goal by striving to raise as much as $25,000 in this year’s Pennies for Patients fundraiser.
To everyone’s surprise, the students not only met their ambitious goal but they also surpassed it by raising more than $29,000 in only one month – making them the first out of more than 500 schools in the state to ever raise that much money in support of the Pennies for Patients fundraiser.
“We participated in this to help kids all over the world get another shot at being a normal kid, fight against cancer and to only think of the positive,” said Weddington Middle sixth grader Keirra Laoussadi. “It is horrible to think that even small five year olds are going through this process, and I just want to help them.”
As part of their fundraising efforts, Weddington Middle will now have its school named linked with the LLS of North Carolina’s Pediatric and Young Adult Cancers research grant portfolio. The portfolio includes a variety of projects that focus on that specific blood cancer research, and the students will receive an annual progress report of their portfolio.
“I can’t tell you how extraordinary that is. The fact that these students felt that it was so important to have their name attached to research – I find that to be overwhelmingly moving to know they care that much about being significant to their community,” said LLS of North Carolina Campaign Specialist Robin Shaw.
To raise the funds, student council members set up fundraising pages, made posters, planned a schoolwide pep rally to kick off the fundraiser and taught their peers how to encourage donations from companies and other adults. The students also created a calendar of incentives that included dress down spirit days to encourage donations and many students also donated their own money to the campaign. The school’s PTSO was also instrumental in helping with the fundraiser.
“We set $25,000 as a lofty and ambitious goal. When the students heard about it, they knew that this fundraiser and cause was bigger than them, and bigger than us, so they really embraced it,” Weddington Middle Principal Marcus Leake said. “This fundraiser was very student driven and student led. Cancer has touched nearly all of our lives and we wanted to do something bigger and better this year. I believe we did.”