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Penny Wars Waged To Benefit Cancer Patients
Jaisen Albor, in back at left, Leadership Advisor Gina Tonarelli, Alondra Avila, Gisselle Caratachea, and Katie Larson are shown here with boxes of pennies raised in each class for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society during the recent Pennies for Patients campaign. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

For the past several years Riverbank High School has participated in a campaign called Pennies for Patients to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and this year was no different. Students in Leadership along with Leadership Advisor and counselor Gina Tonarelli had donation boxes in the second period classes on campus for the cause. The second period class with the most money will receive a donut party. The collection ended on March 17 but the totals had not been calculated as of press time.

Last year RHS raised $700 for the LLS which led the leadership class to be a bit more ambitious, raising this year’s goal to $800. Students and staff were able to donate online which currently has a total received online of $200.

“Students at RHS have been working hard to collect their pennies in the classroom for this great cause and I appreciate all the staff who have helped by donating online,” stated Tonarelli. “I can’t wait to see what the students have raised with their pennies, stay tuned.”

The online donations were open to anyone within the district and there were donations from teachers from other school sites as well as the district office.

Not only does this campaign raise money for LLS but it also raises awareness and, according to Tonarelli, it shows students the importance of helping others.

“I believe this campaign has a sort of tradition now, the whole campus looks forward to it in the spring to see who can raise the most money as well as the penny wars,” added Tonarelli. “There is some fun competition that comes along with this campaign.”

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. The organization serves as “the voice for all blood cancer patients” and works to ensure access to treatments.

March is Myeloma Awareness Month which is blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow and according to the LLS website it is the second most frequently diagnosed blood cancer.

Tonarelli said she was pleased with the efforts of the Leadership class in coordinating the drive and the student body at RHS for getting involved with the cause.

“So far I think they did great, I am excited to see if we met our goal of $800 this year,” she said.