For years, Palm Beach County teachers, staff, students and families have supported the various campaigns of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting blood cancers. This past year, one Wellington elementary school claimed top fundraising honors in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
The LLS mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Funds raised by LLS support lifesaving blood cancer research around the world while also providing free information and support services locally to patients and their families.
Wellington’s Elbridge Gale Elementary School took the prize for top fundraising school in the region, raising $14,283. The A-rated school located on Royal Fern Drive has an enrollment of 1,070 and has long been deeply involved in the LLS mission. Drew Dawson, a current fourth-grade student at the school, is a leukemia survivor and served as the school’s 2018-19 Honored Hero. He is one of several Elbridge Gale students affected by leukemia in recent years.
Funds raised by more than 29,000 schools nationwide assist LLS in serving patients, as well as funding innovative research worldwide to find cures. In 2019, the LLS Palm Beach-Treasure Coast Chapter had 155 schools participating in the Pennies for Patients Student Series program, with 106 of those schools in Palm Beach County alone. The 155 schools collectively raised more than $235,000 to support the LLS mission.
Palm Beach County schools received thousands of dollars in Amazon gift certificates and engaged more than 70,000 students in hands-on, experiential activities in the 2018-19 school year. LLS would not have seen success like this without the support of Superintendent Dr. Donald E. Fennoy, who has been a huge advocate for LLS and has promoted the importance of community service as part of a well-rounded education.
Several other schools in the Wellington area also did their part for the cause. Wellington Elementary School raised $4,544, Emerald Cove Middle School raised $4,423, Binks Forest Elementary School raised $3,472 and the Renaissance Charter School at Wellington raised $2,635.
The LLS Student Series is a service learning, character education and philanthropy program where students gain the experience of helping thousands of children and adults in their fight against blood cancers like leukemia. Students see firsthand how their involvement can make a difference in helping save the lives of blood cancer patients simply by helping raise money. Through the LLS Student Series, students and educators throughout the United States and Canada have raised more than $314 million since 1993 in support of the LLS mission.
The School District of Palm Beach County has supported two specific Student Series programs. Collect for Cures is LLS’s service learning, character education and philanthropy program where students of all ages gain the unique experience of helping thousands of children and adults in their fight against blood cancers like leukemia by collecting money over a three-week period. There are programs available for each grade level that incorporate the philanthropic program with curriculum areas such as art, math, science, social studies and language arts.
Pennies for Patients is LLS’s year-long program specifically for elementary and middle schools. This science-based, service-learning program connects schools with local blood cancer patients, provides tangible life skills to participants and allows students to see the impact they’re making in the lives of others. Participating schools receive a comprehensive, experiential K-8 STEM curriculum to incorporate into the fundraising campaign. The STEM curriculum covers key Common Core skills and features hands-on, experiential activities. It also includes timesaving patterns and ready-to-use-presentations for teachers.
Elementary and middle schools receive boxes for each classroom and individual boxes for each student to take the LLS Students Series home to their families and provide an easy way to carry change back to school. Donations collected in the form of coins, paper money, checks and online donations are spent on patient and community services, research, public health and professional education.
School donation pages can be accessed at the top right corner of the LLS web site. Each year, prizes and awards are given to students, classrooms and schools to encourage excitement and participation, such as a pasta party hosted through a national partnership with Olive Garden.
For more information about local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society programs, visit www.lls.org/palm-beach-area.