Batcheller Students Fight Cancer With Coins

WINSTED — Fourth- and fifth-graders at Batcheller Elementary School joined the fight against cancer last month, collecting change for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients campaign.

At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, members of the school’s student council presented Priscilla Fusco, a campaign manager for the society, with a check in the amount of $626.02.

Over the course of three weeks, students at the school donated their loose change in honor of a young girl named Danielle, 11, one of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s three "Honored Heroes" in Connecticut, who contracted leukemia at the age of four.

"Honored Heroes are kids who have had blood cancer and for whom schools raise funds, unless that school is unfortunate enough to have a blood-cancer patient of its own," Fusco said. "Danielle is a happy, healthy 11-year-old who participates in the Pennies for Patients campaign at her own school. After she went into remission, her family came to us and said, ‘We want to give something back to the society that’s done so much for us.’ So she became one of our Honored Heroes."

Fusco said funds raised through the campaign don’t necessarily go directly to the "Heroes" themselves; the group collects donations toward cancer research, programs for patients and their families and for training medical professionals to deal with blood cancer patients.

"We also run a financial aid program to assist with medical bills," she added.

The kids at Batcheller participated for the first time this year in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients campaign, collecting change over the course of three weeks to donate to the society, Fusco said.

"This is an amazing effort for a first-year campaign, especially for such a small school," she said. And while the 300-odd kids at Batcheller gave of themselves to help out those less fortunate, they should also get something in return, she said: "They receive the good warm feeling that comes from helping out cancer patients."

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s stated mission is to "cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families."

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