The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Student of the Year campaign is a six-week initiative in which nominated high school students participate in a fundraising competition to raise funds for LLS and win the title Student of the Year. Candidates raise funds in honor of blood cancer patients and survivors. The candidate who raises the most money at the end of the six weeks is named “Student of the Year” and wins a scholarship to the school or university of their choice.

The program is a fantastic opportunity for local area high school students enrolled in public or private schools who are enthusiastic about volunteerism, philanthropy, community outreach, and developing leadership skills to participate in the fight against blood cancers. There are 20 teams/30 students in total from the Atlanta area competing in the “Student of the Year” campaign – 3 teams are from East Cobb County.

The “Friends for a Cure” team is led by Addison Kerns, junior at Wheeler High School, and Emma Loftin, a junior at Walton High School. They are raising money in honor of Peyton Gully. The rest of the team includes:

> Lucy Loftin – 5th grader at East Side Elementary School
> Phoebe Goodwin – sophomore at Pope High School
> Barrett Meadows – sophomore at Johnson Ferry Christian Academy
> Olivia Conklin – sophomore at Wheeler High School
> Anna Currant – junior at Wheeler High School
> Claire DeCastro – junior at Walton High School
> Grace Empric – junior at Pope High School
> Katie Jordan – junior at Walton High School
> Emma Morris – junior at Worthington Christian High School, Columbus, Ohio
> Amelia Ritch – junior at Walton High School
> Emily Roach – junior at Walton High School

Donations to the “Friends for a Cure” team can be made online via this link: events.lls.org/ga/AtlantaSOY2018/FriendsForACure.

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Lee Proper and Max Winkler

Two more East Cobb teens, Max Winkler and Lee Proper, both from Pope High School are also raising funds for LLS. Lee is raising money in honor of Peyton Gully (a classmate and friend). Max is raising money in memory of his Grandpa, Harold Winkler. Peyton Gully was diagnosed with ALL and AML leukemia in January 2017. After initial treatment, she went into remission for about two months before the cancer came back. Recently, she has received additional treatment and again has gone into remission. She just received her bone marrow transplant to prevent the cancer from coming back. Lee is doing this campaign to honor Peyton and so other kids do not have to fight the cancer Peyton has.

Max lost his grandfather, Harold Winkler, to leukemia (CLL/AML) in September 2015. Max saw his grandfather courageously battle the disease for over five years. Despite his illness, he kept a positive attitude and did not allow the disease to stop him from enjoying his family and hobbies. Max is doing the campaign in honor of his grandfather’s memory and to help find a cure for blood cancers.

Here is their fundraising link: events.lls.org/ga/AtlantaSOY2018/MaxandLee.

Another fundraising team also hails from East Cobb. Maille Heneghan, Jacey Ice, and Maddy Long –all from Pope High School—were honored to announce their candidacy for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Students of the Year Fundraising Campaign. The three girls named their fundraising team, “The Incredibles” and are working hard to reach their goal of $10,000 in just 6 weeks of fundraising!

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“The Incredibles” Team: Maddy Long, Jacey Ice, and Maille Heneghan

Maille, Jacey, and Maddy all have personal connections to blood cancers/disorders, and that is why they have decided to take action and raise funds for cancer research through LLS! Each year, the Students of the Year Campaign has an “Honored Hero”, and “The Incredibles” have named Alyssa Howell as their honored hero. Alyssa was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2013, and now is in full remission. Due to her blood cancer, Alyssa has dealt with some other serious medical issues, such as having open heart surgery.

Here is their fundraising link : events.lls.org/ga/AtlantaSOY2018/TheIncredibles.

This year’s program kicked off on January 12, 2018. For six weeks, the candidate teams are focused on raising as much money as possible for LLS and the mission. The campaign culminates in a Grand Finale Gala on March 3 which will include a reception, silent auction and awards presentation at the The Georgia Aquarium. For more information on the Student of the Year campaign, visit: www.lls.org/ga or contact Chantal Robertson, Sr. Special Events Manager, at: [email protected] or 404-720-7849.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services. It is estimated that there were approximately 4,530 new diagnoses for blood cancer in Georgia in 2016. Visit www.lls.org/ga.

This article originally appeared in the February issue of the EAST COBBER magazine, on page 12-13. Click here to view the digital edition.