Students fundraise for kids battling cancer


Jake Miller

Three Decatur juniors are helping find a cure to cancer.

Alex Hall, James Moore and Nate Wakeman connected with the Student of the Year program sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). The six-week initiative brings together teams of students in “a fundraising competition to benefit LLS’s National Capital Area Chapter,” according to the LLS website.

“It’s cool because we’re all working towards a common goal: raising money for [LLS],” Wakeman said.

To win, the Blood Brothers, as they have named their team, must raise the most money out of the 21 teams competing. Right now, they are hesitant to say that they’re in the lead.

“Last year, the winner raised something like 116 thousand dollars,” Moore said. “We aren’t on pace to beat that.”

They stress that the prize isn’t the reason they volunteer.

“The winner gets a scholarship at the end, but that’s not what we’re doing this for,” Wakeman said. “It’s all about LLS.”

Each team raises money in honor of a “local teen patient hero who is currently battling blood cancer,” according to Student of the Year. The Blood Brothers are competing for Santiago Barrera, a junior from Wheeler.

“He battled with non-Hodgkin lymphoma for six months,” Wakeman said. “Because of his size, he had to take the adult dosages, which are much more painful than the child dosages, but fortunately he was able to fight it off and beat it.”

There are many ways to raise money, Hall says. The bulk of their donations come from the letters they send out in the mail, but there are other options.

(From left): Wakeman, Walls, Moore and Hall stand in front of their donations table. Fundraisers like this one are one of many that the Blood Brothers have hosted this year.

“Every team that sent out 500 letters was entered into a raffle to win an event at Sky Zone, and we won that,” he said. “We were able to host some people there and we were able to make a little bit of money.”

Most recently, they held a fundraiser at Farm Burger. They got in touch with Chance Walls, the store manager, who thought it was “pretty cool that we were trying to raise money for a good cause.” Walls agreed to donate 10% of all profits from the night of Jan. 24 to their campaign.

“He’s a really cool guy who really helped us out,” Hall said. “Blood cancer treatments are a massive financial burden on families and every bit counts.”

You can donate to LLS here.

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