12 Alexandria schools help raise $395,000 in pennies for Leukemia research


Students at Walter Johnson High School and E.H. Marsteller Middle School are being awarded this summer for capturing top fundraising awards in the 2008 local Pennies for Patients campaign.  

Alongside these top winners were more than 290 additional schools in the Washington, DC area who participated in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients campaign to help find cures for cancer and provide help and hope to thousands of patients and their families. It also allows children the opportunity to experience the powerful feeling that comes from achieving a goal that benefits others.  

Together, both Walter Johnson High School and E.H. Marsteller Middle school raised more than $17,300 and the honor of being named the High School Challenge winner and the Pennies for Patients Campaign winner, respectively.  In total, the 2008 Pennies for Patients campaign raised more than $395,000 for research, patient education programs and advocacy.  

“Leukemia is a disease that affects children so participating in this program is a meaningful way for students to help other students,” said Donna McKelvey, Executive Director, National Capital Area Chapter. “Thanks to fundraising dollars donated to campaigns like this, we’ve seen so much progress in battling leukemia and other blood cancers. And, as a result, we are proud to say that with today’s research approximately 85 percent of children with acute leukemia are now cured. But, we still have a long way to go and every penny really does make a difference.” 

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s School & Youth program, Pennies for Patients, is designed to teach children the value of community service and giving back in a unique way. During the program, students are taught the science behind blood cancers through lesson plans, worksheets and educational videos provided by LLS.   

Students spent three weeks during the 2007-2008 school year collecting spare change and participating in other special fundraising events, such as bake sales and talent show competitions. Top schools are awarded a Domino’s pizza party for their top classroom. Top schools are also awarded Penny Plaques for outstanding contributions more than $1,000. Since its inception, School & Youth Programs have raised more than $100 million.  

“Pennies for Patients fosters a sense of community in our students,” says John Lang, eight grade counselor from Marsteller Middle School, the 2008 top fundraising school from the National Capital Area Chapter. “It helps them to see when a lot of people give a little it can add up to much more then any one could have thought.  I think this re-enforces similar behaviors and fosters responsibilities in other areas such as looking out for others, taking care of the environment, and a sense that can effect positive change in their world.  Pennies for Patients helps empower our students to want to give back.” Marsteller Middle School raised more than $7,740 during their three-week campaign.  

Registering for LLS’s School & Youth Programs is fast and easy at www.schoolandyouth.org. Teachers, parents and school administrators may also call the National Capital Area Chapter at 703-960-1100 for more information.