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(RYE BROOK, NY, June 23, 2022) – Everyone knows someone that has been impacted by the devastation of cancer and through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) groundbreaking Students of the Year philanthropic competition, thousands of high school students across the U.S. are trying to make sure that their generation is the last one to experience it.
Today, LLS officially announced the 2022 National Students of the Year winning team, “The Answer for Cancer” co-candidates and high school juniors — 18-year-old Jordan Loughran, 18-year-old Barrett Hight, and 17-year-old Alice Voigt of Pace Academy in Atlanta, GA raised more than $559,366 to support LLS in funding lifesaving research, support for patients, and critical advocacy efforts. The team broke a new fundraising record for the LLS Georgia – South Carolina Region.
“Each year, LLS’s Students of the Year candidates continue to amaze me with what they’re able to accomplish at such a young age,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS President and CEO. “In just a few short weeks, these extraordinarily driven teens step up, inspire others, and strive to reach new heights in helping LLS transform the landscape of blood cancer care and support.”
All three candidates on this unstoppable team know firsthand the devastation of blood cancer. For Loughran, joining forces with LLS to fight cancer comes full circle. At just two years old, he was diagnosed with leukemia and received a lifesaving bone marrow transplant from his sister, Khaki but relapsed just three years later. Today, after multiple rounds of harsh therapies, he is proud to be 13 years in remission.
“As I got older, I became aware of the massive impact LLS’s funding played in my cancer journey,” said Loughran. “Not only were they the main supporters of many of the new innovations at the time of my diagnosis, but they also guided my family through the process both emotionally and financially.”
Loughran credits LLS as one of the main factors he is still here today.
LLS was founded by parents who lost their child to leukemia and resolved to form a foundation to change the course of this terrible disease, which is diagnosed every 180 seconds across the U.S. After more than 70 years, the social impact organization has made significant progress in the fight against blood cancer, helping to advance 75% of the almost 100 FDA-approved blood cancer treatment options.
“Blood cancer has no current means of prevention, and it does not discriminate no matter your age, gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status,” said Voigt. “Why should our age limit us in galvanizing together with our communities so that one day, nobody has to hear the word ‘cancer’.”
Hight fundraised to honor his friend’s survivorship, and for his grandmother, Freddie Bea Watson, who is currently fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
"My grandmother has been so fortunate to benefit from the research that LLS has supported,” said Hight. “Thanks to LLS, she has undergone multiple treatments over the last six years and continues to be hopeful that there will be something else out there on the horizon — I hope the contribution our team made helps fund that."
As part of their innovative fundraising strategy, the team leveraged their own musical talents to create an informative and inspiring song they showcased on YouTube, which has received over 1,000 views.
The 2022 National Students of the Year runners-up, “Team Mission to Remission”, 17-year-old Katelyn Eberwein, 17-year-old Charley Schumacher and 17-year-old Sydney Yee of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, NV, raised an outstanding $537,648 for LLS, breaking a new fundraising record for the LLS Desert Region.
Yee, who lost her grandfather to multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow, said, “I am hopeful no future generations must experience the pain my family felt."
“We will continue to fight for a cancer-free future!” echoed Schumacher and Eberwein.
Throughout their fundraising journey, both teams displayed outstanding presentation and networking skills that will profoundly benefit them in their future endeavors beyond high school. In addition to fundraising, Students of the Year participants learn invaluable skills through guidance and mentoring, fostering professional skills such as entrepreneurship, marketing and project management.
LLS’s signature fundraisers have helped invest more than $1.5 billion in cutting-edge research worldwide, fueling nearly every critical advancement in blood cancer treatment that spans the most promising cancer research.
Despite the progress, more than a third of blood cancer patients still do not survive five years after their diagnosis.
To learn more about the Students of the Year program and how you or someone you know can get involved, visit, www.studentsoftheyear.org.
Blood cancer patients and their families can contact the LLS Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., ET.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is a global leader in the fight against cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma. 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 regional offices throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the LLS Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., ET.