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Student-led efforts aim to raise millions for cancer research

Written By: Team CMC

Cancer touches the lives of millions of Americans every year, affecting not only the patient, but family, friends and the community. After experiencing cancer in their own families, Abby Newton and Abigail Weeden, high school students at The Lovett School, found solace and inspiration in raising money for cancer research.

The students are participating in Student Visionaries of the Year, a campaign run by high school students across the United States to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Leukemia is the most common form of cancer — Every three minutes someone receives a blood cancer diagnosis. Thanks in large part to research funded by LLS, 70% of patients now make it to remission.

Thirty-five student teams from Metro Atlanta have pledged to raise $2.3 million this year. The money will help find cures and ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients. More than 80% of drugs for leukemia and lymphoma on the market are funded by LLS.

Abby and Abigail, leading a team of 13 students from their school and North Atlanta High School, seek to raise thousands of dollars in this campaign.

"My dad is courageously fighting pancreatic cancer and I've seen how new trial drugs and treatments are working well for him," says Abby. "His experience inspired me to raise funds that go towards finding new treatments."

The campaign runs through Feb. 24, 2024. Each team member creates a potential donation list of 300 to 500 people. The students mail a letter to each person on their list illustrating the benefits of donating to the organization and why the student is invested in raising money for this cause.

Student Visionaries of the Year is also a leadership development program. The program teaches the students how to make their goal a reality by building a solid business plan. The students learn how they can strategically impact the world and also learn about research, policy and advocacy.

Started in 2017, the Student Visionary program has raised $190 million. In 2023, the metro Atlanta teams brought in $2.21 million.

The students have learned through this experience that they would rather spend time raising money for this organization than using their free time on anything else. As Abigail stated in her letter to potential donors, "My grandfather was diagnosed with transitional cell carcinoma … It is my wish for a cure to be found for all cancers, but if diagnosed, that everyone has the same opportunities to help beat it."

You can make a donation to Abby and Abigail's fundraiser here: https://events.lls.org/ga/svoyatlanta24/tlionsforl.


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