Students raise funds to fight leukemia, lymphoma
After being named students of the year by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Northwestern Lehigh seniors Madison Hoffman and Benjamin Fry, along with Alya Wezza from Parkland, raised more than $11,000 for the organization.
“There were 26 students and 17 teams and together we managed to raise $239,000,” Fry said. “Each of my team members had the goal of raising $5,000 that will help cancer patients and, their families, and fund research.”
Fry said dedication was essential.
“We each decided we wanted to reach $5,000 each,” he said. “I think I raised $8,000 on my own before we were done. “
The two students had similar reasons for their initial involvement.
“I wanted to get involved because all of the money raised is going to help blood cancer patients and their families, along with funding future cancer research,” Hoffman said.
“I wanted to do it because I see the need for many people affected by cancer. It’s incredible to see just how many,” said Fry. “It is staggering. Any amount we can raise that can go to end the scourge is incredible.”
The students had several strategies to raise funds.
“We contacted businesses and held fundraisers, made calls and wrote letters to all of our friends,” Fry said.
“We talked about why we were supporting the cause.”
“I reached out to all my family members and friends, along with businesses,” Hoffman added. “I used social media in spreading the word.
“I had donation boxes set up. I did a hoagie fundraiser and a frozen yogurt fundraiser.
“Ben and I had teacher dress-down days at Northwestern. We also sold T-shirts.”
In his appeal to friends and family, Fry highlighted compelling information.
“The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has invested more than $1 billion in research to find the cause and cure for blood cancers,” he wrote.
“This research has led to groundbreaking treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation and stem cell transplantation that have become vital to treating blood cancers and many other forms of cancer.
“The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society donates millions of dollars for research to fight blood cancers every year because blood cancers are harder to treat than other cancers.
“The research that is done on blood cancers can usually be applied to the cures or treatments for other cancers.”
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer.
Its mission is to “cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.”
LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
This was the first year Northwestern Lehigh students participated in the seven-week campaign that culminated in a Students of the Year Gala at the Renaissance Hotel, Allentown.
Fry and Hoffman learned about the fundraising initiative as students in LCTI’s Emerging Health Professionals program.
“Our teachers at Emerging Health Professionals brought the opportunity to us and we read about it as well,” said Fry. “It’s a national campaign.”
Getting into the Emerging Health Program was not easy.
“We had to submit an application to be accepted,” Hoffman said. “But it is selective and not everyone that applies gets accepted. It does require a lot of hard work, effort, and time. I do homework and/or studying for EHP almost every night.
“I think the program is a great opportunity for prospective health care students.
“It gives you the opportunity to job shadow in different hospital settings, make connections with those in the health care field, learn basic health care and take college anatomy and physiology courses.”