Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
FREMONT, OHIO (Fremont News Messenger) - There was a lot of couch diving going on in Clyde last week.
Students at Clyde Elementary School participated in a Pennies for Patients campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They collected change all week to donate to the cause, and they searched everywhere they could think of to find extra coins.
The Pennies for Patients week started with two kick-off assemblies hosted by Leukemia and Lymphoma Society staff member Sara Thorne-Briechle.
She explained to the students that the cardboard boxes they were given were temporary banks to hold the money they were collecting. She said that the money the students donated would go toward the society's mission to "help little boys and girls who have an illness called blood cancer."
Thorne-Briechle encouraged the students to fill their boxes with spare change all week.
"If you buy a pack of bubble gum for 75 cents, you have a quarter left. Bring it home and put it in the box. That quarter makes a difference to a child with blood cancer," she said.
The students were competing by classroom to raise the most funds. Thorne-Briechle told the students that the classroom with the biggest donation would win a pizza party.
She knew that students might not realize how a handful of change can make a difference in the fight against cancer.
"Last year, $27 million was raised -- a quarter, penny, nickel and dime at a time," she explained. "That money goes to help smarty scientists look for ways to help find a cure."
The Pennies for Patients campaign was one of several fundraisers Clyde Elementary participated in during the school year. School principal Peggy Stickney said that she worries that parents will become frustrated by the requests.
She sent home a letter to parents explaining that for every fundraiser that Clyde Elementary participates in, she has turned down two or three others. More importantly, she said, the fundraisers she chooses all directly benefit students, families or staff in the Clyde-Green Springs community.
The Pennies for Patients fundraiser hit especially close to home. Tristan Palija, a kindergarten student at Clyde Elementary, was diagnosed with Acute Lmphoblastic Leukemia last May. ALL is a blood cell disease characterized by the presence of lymphoblasts, immature cells that usually develop into lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. In ALL, the lymphoblasts do not mature.
Palija, the son of Brian Palija and Shelly Rogers, is the school's featured hero for the campaign.
Rogers said that her son is currently in remission. He is still undergoing chemotherapy treatments to prevent the cancer's return, but he has suffered few side effects from the cancer or the treatment.
"I've heard horror stories from people we met at the hospital, but surprisingly, he only got sick a couple times," Rogers said. "We had to take him to the hospital once with a high fever."
Tristan must undergo lumbar punctures, a procedure in which a needle is inserted in the spine to inject chemotherapy medicine into spinal fluid. This is done to prevent the cancer from entering the central nervous system.
"He handles it like a trooper," Rogers said. "He handles everything well, but I think at this point he just wants everything to be normal."
Meanwhile, he's looking forward to a Make-a-Wish Foundation trip to Disneyland this spring, and he was excited about raising money for Pennies for Patients.
"He's really excited. He really wants his class to win," Rogers said.
He wasn't the only one. Students were looking everywhere they could to find extra money to donate. After the kick-off event, some third grade students knew just where they were going to search.
Brody Stockmaster said he was going to go home and look under his couch and under his bed. Miguel Villarreal was sure his mom would give him some money, and Alyssa Bakx said, "You can find it on the ground."
Marcella Kelser had one up on all of them. She knew where the real money was to be found.
"You can get it from the Tooth Fairy," she said.
An account has been set up to receive donations for Tristan's family at the Clyde Branch of the Croghan Colonial Bank.
Copyright 2015 Fremont News Messenger
Updated 1103 days ago Article ID# 1509872
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society