CES fundraiser

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Campaign Manager Jami Carlson talks to Chanute Elementary students about the role that Rahley Holcomb, as a white blood cell, and Macey Matlock, as a red blood cell, play in the fight against blood cancer in the body. In the background, Captain America Alijah Christy and Batman Quinton Harding listen.


USD 413 public relations

Dressed as superheroes, a team of fifth graders at Chanute Elementary is leading the effort to raise money for people suffering from leukemia and lymphoma. 

A six-week campaign called Pennies for Patients began Monday at CES, when each student received a small box to take home and fill with pennies, nickels and dimes from their families and friends. The money will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, whose campaign manager worked with the CES leadership team who dressed as superheroes Friday to kick off the fundraising event.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s campaign manager, Jami Carlson, contacted CES about fundraising, and “we decided that this would be a great leadership opportunity for these students,” said Assistant Principal Eric Hoops. “The leadership team will learn the strategies and skills necessary to complete this type of program with our whole school.” They brainstormed ideas for rewards to motivate the student body to raise funds and they helped carry out the kickoff assembly.

With a schoolwide focus on community service this year, “the CES students will have the opportunity to help many people who are less fortunate than themselves,” Hoops added.

Carlson called out Alijah Christy, who portrayed Captain America with his shield that protects people. People who are sick need protectors like mom, dad, doctors, friends and family. Last year the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society spent “$1.2 million to help those who are sick get to their protectors,” she said. 

Taking the stage next was Quinton Harding, dressed as Batman on the lookout for evil clues. Batman represents all the scientists and researchers that it takes to study and find treatments for people who have leukemia or a form of blood cancer called lymphoma.

“The cancer cells get into healthy blood cells and multiply really, really, fast,” Carlson explained. “The Batmans are the researchers and scientists studying why they get sick and how to make them feel better.”

Fifth graders Rahley Holcomb, referred to as Whiley, the white blood cell, and Macey Matlock as Ruby, the red blood cell, helped explain their role in the fight against lymphoma. The white blood cells fight all the icky germs in the body, Carlson said, while the red blood cells carry oxygen through the body to create energy.

Super Girl Rylee Smith Kearns represented someone who is very strong. She stands for those who are sick with a form of cancer and have to see a lot of doctors and go through a lot of different tests. Many patients undergo chemotherapy, a treatment that makes their hair fall out. Losing their hair is not their fault, she told the students, just a side effect of the medicine they are taking. On average, it takes two-and-a-half years for a person to feel better after cancer.

Fifth grader Luke Becknell energetically joined Carlson on stage as the Chanute Elementary STAR superhero representing all the students and their role in this campaign.

“You are going to be a superhero with all you are doing with this Pennies for Patients project by helping someone who is sick feel better,” Carlson said.

To keep the Pennies for Patients program on track, the fifth graders came up with rewards for classes that raise the most money each week. In week one, extra recess time goes to the class bringing in the most money. In week two, the reward is eating lunch with their favorite principal. The class that raises the most in week three chooses a principal to do the “Chicken Dance,” which may be better than the principal or teacher in week four who will get a pie in the face from the top class.

In week five, if the school has raised more than $750, the class with the most donations will get a pizza party. In week six, if the school has raised more than $2,000, the top two classes will be rewarded a pizza party.

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