Seven teams of high school students from across Oregon collectively raised $472,000 towards The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). The dollars raised will support LLS’s mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkins Disease and myeloma and to improve the quality of life for blood cancer patients and their families. Their fundraising efforts culminated at the Grand Finale Gala on Sunday, March 8 where top fundraisers were announced. Students from participating schools include West Linn High School, Lakeridge High School, Jesuit High School, Sunset High School, and Sprague High School in Salem, Oregon.
Taelyn Haney, a freshman at West Linn High School, was has been named this year’s Oregon & SW Washington Students of the Year. Taelyn, who aspires to become a pediatrician, became involved out of her passion for LLS’s Children’s Initiative which aims to produce the first targeted treatments for pediatric blood cancer patients. There have been only four treatments approved specifically for children in the last 40 years and 80% of child cancer survivors are left with chronic health complications due to cancer treatment. LLS plans to invest $100 million in the Children’s Initiative over the next five years and has launched PedAL, the world’s first global clinical trial, in order to get results for pediatric patients.
Anna Seely, a junior at Lakeridge High School and AML survivor, was awarded the Mission Award for her outstanding fundraising and awareness-building through community involvement and volunteerism. Anna understands the importance of the LLS mission and wanted to share her story to help the kids fighting cancer today. In May, she will celebrate five years being cancer free!
Another top fundraiser was Ella Smith, a senior at Jesuit High School. Ella plays lacrosse competitively and first became involved with LLS when her friend and teammate, Liz Lofurno, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. When Liz asked her to run for Student of the Year, she happily agreed. Ella will attend Vanderbuilt University in the fall where she will continue playing lacrosse.
“Congratulations to our winners, and to all of our candidates and campaign team members who participated in this year’s Students of the Year challenge,” said Julie Davidson, LLS OSWIM Executive Director. “These exceptional young people are all passionate and determined individuals, and leaders in their communities. Together, we are getting closer to LLS’s goal of a world without blood cancer.”
The Partners Group, led by CEO and former LLS Board Member Rod Cruickshank, was a major contributor to this year’s success. “Serving and giving is in The Partners Group’s DNA and we believe partnering with LLS is an important way for TPG to fulfill our stated purpose to make a difference in our community and inspire others to do the same.”
LLS would also like to thank major sponsors ADP and Lithia 4 Kids, as well as Students of the Year kick off partner Providence Cancer Center and media partners KOIN and Portland’s CW.
Each student mobilized their networks and ran exciting campaigns that attracted donations from around the country. They honed skills such as professional presentations to business leaders, organizing fundraising events and getting everyone they knew—even some they didn’t—involved in the fight against blood cancer.
In total, the Class of 2020 raised over a record-setting $472,000 in a spirited 7-week fundraising period which began on January 18th and ended March 8th with a Grand Finale gala at the Melody Ballroom. Every dollar raised counts as one vote, and local winners are considered for the national title. In 2019, teams across the country raised over $30 million for the LLS mission. The national winner will be announced this summer.
For more information or to nominate a high school student for the 2021 challenge, please visit the Students of the Year website (www.studentsoftheyear.org).