• Varsity girls soccer game at home: 3/25

  • Hour delay: 3/20

  • Coin War donations at all lunches: 3/18-3/22

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The National Honor Society is proving pennies can be useful in the fight against cancer

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The National Honor Society is proving pennies can be useful in the fight against cancer

National Honor Society (NHS) board member and senior Yusra Sannah remembers the big buckets full of coins, dollars, and particularly pennies that ushered in the Pennies for Patients fundraiser in elementary schools.

“In first grade, I took part in the elementary school’s Pennies for Patients and counting [the] money,” Yusra said. “Just the attitude and atmosphere was so [community-based that] it gave off great energy, and it was just a really nice memory of community involvement from a young age. I think it’s important to continue that.”

This fundraiser, one that raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, has become almost like a tradition; every year, students gather any spare change to donate to finding a cure.

By continuing this fundraiser throughout the years like Yusra had hoped, the school has been able to donate to assist in finding a cure for blood cancers such as leukemia. Leukemia is a blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow, and lymphoma is a cancer that begins in lymphocytes, which range in body location.

NHS board members have been facilitating this year’s Pennies for Patients after a year off.

“The community really relies on schools like ours to keep the funds coming in and keeping that program alive for those kids,” Yusra said. “We had a presentation [about the cause]; one of the outreach members from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society came and presented what she does and how our funds make a difference in the community. She really gave it a human impact beyond just putting coins in a bucket.”

Bringing the community together over a cause like cancer cures put an emphasis on this fundraiser for the NHS board. This board orchestrated the event with the help of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and after the presentation that members watched, fellow NHS board member and senior Caitlin Benitez felt the impact.

“I think what [the presenter] was talking about was really important,” Caitlin said. “Supporting cancer research helps us achieve [sponsoring many events]. It was interesting to hear her speak on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and hear her present these stories of kids who have survived childhood cancer because of money raised from schools.”

The money talked about in the presentation was money collected through Pennies for Patients. This fundraiser was brought back to FHC this year, after board members registered just how much money the large blue buckets left out actually collected.

With labeled buckets by grade—a friendly school competition—the board hopes to raise $3,333.00 this year. With past fundraisers, different classes of a particular hour were pitted against each other in an attempt to collect the most money; however, this year it has been changed to the different grades competing, a change science teacher and NHS advisor Patricia Richardson has welcomed.

“We used to compete between teachers’ classes based on a period,” Richardson said, “and that would get intense. I like the class level competition [because] it brings a grade level together. It doesn’t feel like a competition but just people giving because they think it is a good thing.”

All the generosity stemming from the donation and friendly competition has brought the fundraiser and the cause to the front stage. While surpassing any goals set in the past, Pennies for Patients is bringing a new awareness to the community to those facing the difficult battle against cancer.

“[Survivors and patients] are among us,” Yusra said. “You may not know, but there [are] so many kids in our community who really benefit from this, and I think that that’s something really to get involved in.”

The people benefitting—kids affected by leukemia and lymphoma—from the funds raised are a part of everyone’s life. Richardson is able to relate to the cause and survivors living within FHC’s community due to first-hand experience with cancer, making this cause even more significant in her eyes.

“Raising funds for cancer research, in general, is important because so many people are affected by it in many ways,” Richardson said. “Everybody knows someone who has died from cancer. I had a friend pass away from cancer when I was in high school, a close friend now fighting cancer, [and] a brother-in-law and grandparent both pass away from cancer. It kills all ages, and the more we can learn to stop any cancer, the better.”

This sentiment of importance, finding a cure, and community is echoed by board members and is shown through the numerous promotions; from videos on FX to announcements in the lunchroom, NHS members are highlighting the true focus of this fundraiser: the survivors and those currently fighting.

As the fundraiser began this week, Caitlin has already noticed a shift in the crowds at lunch as the donation buckets pass around with everybody chipping in what they can.

“I feel like our student body has been brought together by this cause,” Caitlin said. “I’m amazed by the outpouring of support from our volunteers who spend their lunchtime helping to collect donations and staying after school to count all the coins.”

The volunteers collecting are fellow NHS members offering their help when they can to hold the pillar of service up, a main objective of NHS. All members are encouraged to participate in order to collect volunteer hours and pitch in for a good cause, bringing together juniors and seniors while including all the grades.

“[Pennies for Patients] really goes along with our theme of building our community,” Caitlin said. “It’s important to see beyond the walls of FHC and realize that there are other causes that we can help beyond our school.”

Providing insight into community-wide issues that affect everyday people shows the substance of something as small as a penny. This week-long donation program ties together the core values of NHS along with encouraging the student body to take part in something other than themselves.

“This event not only benefits the fight to end blood cancers,” Caitlin said, “but also goes to show the value of service in our community. Pennies may seem like such small value, but their importance comes in the awareness this event brings to cancer patients and their everyday battles.”

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Lynlee Derrick, Social Media Manager

Lynlee is a sophomore, and she is beginning her first full year on staff for The Central Trend. She absolutely loves the rain and snow. Michigan is the...

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The National Honor Society is proving pennies can be useful in the fight against cancer