Students at Elbridge Gale Elementary School set a goal to fundraise more than $11,000 to help fund blood cancer research and provide help and hope to thousands of patients and their families through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Pasta for Pennies program, presented by Olive Garden.
The school is passionate about supporting LLS. In addition to a highly successful Pi Day, where 300 students threw pies at 60 teachers and administrators, students and staff planned two chess tournaments, bake sales, car washes, give-back events and dress down days during March.
Over the last month, students not only met their goal, they surpassed it. Currently, the school has collected $17,000 in support of LLS. Of the hundreds of schools in Florida that support LLS, Elbridge Gale has surpassed them all.
On May 11, Olive Garden in Wellington will host the top three fundraising classrooms for a special celebratory luncheon. Sarah Hamilton’s winning class collected more than $3,000 and is looking forward to getting a grand tour of the restaurant.
Students Jaidyn Brody and McKenna Wickers both have family members battling a blood cancer and are in Hamilton’s homeroom. When Brody’s grandfather was diagnosed with terminal leukemia, she knew she needed to do something more. Brody set up tables at her church, a local grocery store and local restaurants. She hung a banner, asked people to sign their name in support of a cure, and then asked them to make a donation to support her cause. Currently, she can be seen at a booth on Thursdays at Wellington’s Food Truck Invasion. The local community is responding in a big way. Brody has personally fundraised more than $2,500 in honor of her grandfather. For her efforts, she has earned the title of “Student of the Year,” and will be presented this honor at Olive Garden.
Wickers has an uncle who was diagnosed with leukemia. She also had the desire to make an impact in her community. Wickers got a shout out in the Town-Crier about her “Lemons for Leukemia” event. She set up a table at a local park, sold lemonade and even had a face painter. By the end of the day, the local community turned out for her event, helping her raise more than $700.
Elbridge Gale became involved with LLS after student Sebastian Sarmiento was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007. Sadly, Sarmiento passed away in 2009. Again this year, Elbridge Gale has yet another student diagnosed with leukemia. Andrew Dawson is a 6-year-old kindergartener who is now in the maintenance phase of his chemotherapy treatment. He is doing well, and seeing his friends at school support LLS in such a big way has made him very happy. Online donations to support the school’s effort can be made at http://tinyurl.com/EGpennies. All donations go directly to LLS and are tax-deductible.
“Thanks to research, nearly 90 percent of children with acute leukemia are now cured,” said Stacy Hewitt, Palm Beach School & Youth Campaign Manager. “But there still is a long way to go. Leukemia affects more children than any other cancer, so LLS’s School & Youth Programs provide a meaningful way for kids to help kids.”