It’s not often representatives from a national charity pay a visit to a school. But it’s not often that a school raises nearly $50,000 for a charity.
Avon Heritage Elementary School Student Council has been supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for the past 12 years. The students manage a campaign annually collecting pennies and other coin amounts for the society through its “Pennies for Patients” initiative.
Kerri Peterson-Davis, campaign manager, student services, for the society’s Northern Ohio affiliate recently came out to Avon to present the students with the “Champion for a Cause” award for notable achievement, accomplishment and action in raising $49,365.39 in 12 consecutive campaigns.
This year, the students collected $9,232.67 during the penny collection.
“My personal connection is I have an aunt who passed away from leukemia,” said Heritage teacher/student council co-adviser, Amy Rottman. “Every year it seems we learn of another person who has cancer. There is so much cancer around us and the kids also know people who have cancer. Raising money and awareness gives the students some control over this terrible disease. The student council members really run with fundraising efforts and the entire school gets involved. Avon is a very generous community.” Andrea Bailey is also a co-adviser for Student Council.
The students are happy and proud to be making a difference, and hope to hit the $10,000 mark next year during the campaign to help children fighting cancer.
“It’s not their fault they have cancer,” said Heritage fifth-grader, Julia Laforet. “They have suffered so much. We just really want to help them.”
According to Rottman, during the collection campaign this year each classroom had a poster hanging with picture on it of a child who has cancer. It really gave the students a personal connection to the people they were helping raise money for a cure.
During the presentation at Heritage, Peterson-Davis thanked the students for their efforts and told them the goal is to find a cure for, not just blood cancer, but all cancers in their lifetime.
Heritage Elementary was No. 3 in the society’s Northern Ohio region, which spans from Toledo to Youngstown, out of 500 schools this year in terms of money collected during a campaign. More than $500,000 was raised by students in the region this year.