Students of the Year Philadelphia: Raising to find a cure

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In 2018, nearly 18,000 people had been diagnosed with cancer in Philadelphia alone, and most of these types of cancer do not have a cure yet, but students from and around Philadelphia can all do their part to help in the cause through Students of the Year Philadelphia.

By Jui Bhatia, Staff Reporter

In 2018, nearly 18,000 people had been diagnosed with cancer in Philadelphia alone, and most of these types of cancer do not have a cure yet, but students from and around Philadelphia can all do their part to help in the cause through Students of the Year Philadelphia.

Students of the Year Philadelphia is a fundraising competition that lasts about seven weeks, where the highest raising team gets named the Students of the Year Philadelphia. The participating students raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, which invests these funds to find a cure for cancer. Each team has one or more candidates with some team members that help them fundraise. 

Most candidates are raising in honor of a loved one who has been through cancer, and junior Sophia Mabilais has a similar motivation and is running with Zoe Davies. 

“I’ve had relatives, family, friends and just overall loved ones that have dealt with cancer and the hardships of it, and you can really see how much (of a struggle) it can be,” Mabilais said. “I just want to spread awareness and help my community, and not just the community because LLS is global.”

Raising $25 – $300 will grant a donation directly to research.  If a participant raises anywhere from $1000 to $5000, they can donate this to a more specific research program of their choice.” Any team that raised over $10,000 can donate that money to help a specific person or to a specific type of research.

Sophomore Rennie Hoey, who is working with Riley Holzapfel, points out the other general uses of these funds.

“All (these funds) also go to raising awareness,” Hoey said. “They not only use the money for research but also to inform others of what this foundation is and what this type of cancer is.”

In addition, Mabilais stresses the importance these funds have and the difference they make for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.

“I know that there’s other cancer money raising programs but honestly, I think the thing about LLS is that it’s very student involved,” Mabilais said. “In other programs it’s really just adults and they bring in the children but this is really like the students are doing the work here.”

Sophomore Sejal Kaushik, who is raising in honor of her grandfather, echoes the sentiment.

“3 years ago, my grandfather passed away from leukemia,” Kaushik said. “So when I was presented with this opportunity, because I’ve seen what happened to our family and the effects it had on everyone, I thought it would be a good way to participate and do something to make an effort.”

Sophomore Lily Norton, who fundraised last year, and is on the Junior leadership team this year, talks about her experience and connection to the cause.

“My motivation was that my cousin had leukemia when she was younger. And I feel like I know a lot of people who have been affected by blood cancer. So it’s just a really good cause to donate to and help find a cure since a lot of people are affected by it, especially young kids,” Norton said. “My friend told me about the (Junior Leadership team) and so I was like this sounds so fun. It’s also such an amazing thing to do, especially through the Leukemia Lymphoma Society who had helped my cousin when she was sick with money and things like that.”

Recognizing how tough it might be to fundraise this year, Norton encourages all the fundraising teams. 

“It’s very fun, and I had so much fun doing it, and it’s for such a good cause and just know that every single dollar you raise is helping,” Norton said. “No matter how much you raise, it will help someone who needs it.”

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