La Jolla High School students on two squads are competing with 16 other candidate teams for Students of the Year, an innovative seven-week fundraising competition wherein candidates appeal to family and friends to raise critical funds for blood-cancer research.
LJHS’s Team Race to the Rescue is comprised of Blythe Broido and Alexa Thompson. The Dream Team is headed by Nora Wilcox.
The fundraising competition is sponsored by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) San Diego/Hawaii Chapter. Students of the Year is a philanthropic leadership development program for exemplary high school students. During the campaign, participants foster professional skills such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and project management in order to raise funds for LLS.
Top local fundraisers become eligible to win the national title. The students raise money in honor of a local patient hero who is currently battling or is in remission from a blood cancer.
There are more than 1.3 million blood cancer patients in the U.S. The candidates/teams who raise the most money at the end of the competition earn the title Student(s) of the Year.
“I found the experience to be entirely rewarding,” said Broido of Team Race to the Rescue. “This competition has become something that I am passionate about and dedicated to. … I have developed a number of skills and gained confidence. … Helping team members learn to fundraise is difficult but rewarding when they reach their goals.”
Teammate Thompson noted, “It's super fun to work with your classmates to raise funds, but also it is amazing to see how much a community can come together to support your cause. … I would like to participate in it again because it is such a fun campaign and it is for such a good cause.”
Both young women have had personal experience with blood cancer.
“One of the Race to the Rescue team members was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the young age of 3. By age 6, he was thankfully able to make a full recovery,” said Broido.
“Some of my family friends have been in the fight against blood cancers, so it hits home for me,” said Thompson.
Of their Students of the Year experience Broido said, “The generosity of my contacts has shocked me. The number of people who gave to the campaign on my behalf has astounded me and made me feel the power in community.”
Said Thompson, “Participating in the competition makes me feel happy, because I know that with our team’s help, we are one step closer to finding the cure for blood cancers.”
“It’s amazing to watch these young men and women work so hard to fundraise and help us cure cancer,” said Kathlene Seymour, LLS’s San Diego/Hawaii Chapter executive director. “Students of the Year resonates with Generation Z, who want to leave their mark in the world. As the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to fighting blood cancers, LLS has a legacy of innovating in the fundraising category and Students of the Year is our newest addition. The one-of-a-kind program brings together students from diverse backgrounds and experiences who are compassionate and driven to reach their own personal fundraising best.”
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, New York, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit LLS.org.