Area Student Organizes Event To Help Fight Blood Cancers

Jaidyn Brody, a 10-year-old student at Elbridge Gale Elementary School in Wellington set a goal to raise more than $15,000 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.

Brody is passionate about supporting LLS. Her grandfather has been battling leukemia for longer than she has been alive. “I realized how hard things were for my grandpa each and every day, even though he doesn’t complain about his pain. That’s when I felt obligated to do something,” said Brody.

On Saturday, Sept. 19, Brody hosted the first annual Putting Fore Patients mini golf tournament and raised more than $4,400 for the Palm Beach Area Chapter of LLS.

As an advocate for LLS, Brody has visited her local officials, speaking with councilmen, representatives and senators, sharing LLS’s mission to find a cure for cancer. State Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, Wellington Mayor Bob and Linda Margolis, Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo and Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein personally become involved with the event.

Gov. Rick Scott was also invited to attend. In a personal note to Brody, Scott wrote, “It is my pleasure to commend Jaidyn Brody and all participating in the Putting Fore Patients golf tournament to support Florida families and the Palm Beach Area Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I applaud Jaidyn’s work to support her grandfather and all Floridians affected by blood cancer.”

Brody’s school became involved with LLS after student Sebastian Sarmiento was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007. Sadly, Sebastian passed away in 2009. Again this year, Elbridge Gale has yet another student diagnosed with leukemia. Andrew Dawson is a 6-year-old kindergarten student who a few weeks ago was given the news that he is cancer free. Seeing his friends at school support LLS in such a big way has made him very happy. Last year, the school raised $17,500 to support LLS, and Brody is well over half way to her personal goal, raising $8,000 to date.

“Thanks to research, nearly 90 percent of children with acute leukemia are now cured,” said Stacy Hewitt off LLS. “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.”

ABOVE: Jaidyn Brody (left) and LLS Board President Jason Guari with his daughter and friends.