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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2019 2 months ago

Oakland Avenue Charter School launches Pennies for Patients campaign

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Students will be raising money to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s program in honor of Landon Bliven.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

Oakland Avenue Charter students have joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Hero Squad as they kicked off a campaign to help change cancer.

The school will be participating in the society’s Pennies for Patients campaign through April 18. Students will be raising money to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in support of blood cancer research. Those interested in contributing can donate to a student or online at bit.ly/2CUh58X. 

“Oakland Avenue Charter School is kicking off their Pennies for Patients campaign, which is a service learning and philanthropy program that benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” said Carin Nagy, campaign manager of the Pennies for Patients program. “It’s a program where schools throughout the country are raising funds in honor of local students that are battling blood cancers. (Students) learn a little bit about blood cancers (and) all the schools that participate get access to our complimentary STEM curriculum.” 

Landon Bliven, 6, is a kindergartner at Oakland Avenue Charter School and has been battling leukemia since January

Landon Bliven has been battling leukemia since January 2017 and is currently in remission.

2017. He is an honored hero of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and was given a hero’s introduction during a pep rally the school held April 5 to kick off the campaign. The rally included a brief lesson on blood cancer and an inspirational video was played to show students how they could be a hero and help collect donations to change cancer.

“I think it’s great that they’re willing to do that (fundraiser),” Bliven’s mom, Brittany Snipes, said. “I feel like it helps the kids recognize that it can happen to any kid and it can be any of their friends that are going through it. I think that it’s great that they’re going help everybody around push for it.”

Bliven is currently in remission and will be undergoing treatment until May 2020. He said his favorite superhero is Spider-Man “because he can shoot webs.” He enjoys playing video games, and his current favorite game is none other than Spider-Man. 

In addition to individual students collecting donations, the school will be raising funds as well by selling “superpower” wristbands for $1. The “superpowers” will be sold from a Superhero Training Academy that will be set up at the school, fourth-grade teacher Ana-Alicia Myers said.

“We’re going to set up a Superhero Training Facility in the morning where we’re going to sell superpowers, but it’s essentially a wristband that’s for $1,” Myers said. “(Students) will say a cute little oath and when (they get their superpowers) and then they’re going to sign on … a big poster that says, ‘Make leukemia disappear.’ They get to sign it so that we’re trying to cover (the sign with their signatures).”

Students will have opportunities to win prizes during the fundraising campaign. Prizes awarded will depend on how much money a student fundraises. Rings, keychains and “Hero Squad” T-shirts are just some of the prizes students could win. The class that collects the most donations will get a pasta party from Olive Garden.

“They can earn little prizes along the way as being incentives for being part of the Hero Squad and members of the Hero Squad,” Nagy said.

 

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science. Got a story idea? Contact Eric at...

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