The Buckeye Valley Middle School gym was an exciting place to be on Friday afternoon as the entire school gathered to celebrate the success of its “Pennies for Patients” fundraiser.
Pennies for Patients is a program that collects spare change and other donations to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The program, which involves collecting donations over the course of two or three weeks, has been held at schools across the country. The money raised is used “to fund breakthrough therapies and patient services,” according to the foundation’s website.
Over the course of two weeks, Buckeye Valley Middle School students raised more than $4,400, exceeding their goal of $4,200.
To celebrate their success, there was a dodgeball tournament between teachers and the class of each grade that had raised the most money. There was also a contest, involving finding a piece of bubble gum in a pile of Cool Whip, in which the winner got to treat a teacher with a pie in the face. Music accompanied the celebration, thanks to Kelvin Williams of Heartbeat Music, who donated his DJ services once he learned that the celebration was “for a good cause.”
“This is my way of trying to give back,” he said.
“You guys are a hundred percent awesome,” said Melissa Foster of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, as she presented the school with a large foam check showing the amount that students had raised.
She explained that the funds that are raised are used to support research and to help local patients with traveling expenses and copay assistance.
She cited an OSU physician, Dr. John Byrd, as one of the recipients of Pennies for Patients research funds. According to Foster, Byrd helped to develop a new treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. As she explained it, his “patients only have to take three pills a day and it kills their cancer.”
April Street is one of the Buckeye Valley Middle students who participated in the Pennies for Patients fundraiser. She said that she became involved because Tina Francis, Buckeye Valley Middle’s career-based instruction teacher, who organizes the Pennies for Patients fundraiser, “explained it to us and you want to help these kids. … You don’t want to just leave them there suffering.”