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Relentless High School Students Forge Ahead for a Future Without Cancer


(RYE BROOK, NY, June 30, 2021) – Thousands of high school students in hundreds of communities across the country have proven that nothing, not even a global pandemic, can stand in the way of their determination for a better future. For the students who participated in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) 2021 Students of the Year campaign, the future they envision is one without blood cancer. During the seven-week fundraising competition, which was executed entirely virtual nationwide, records were broken, and a new standard was set for future philanthropists.

Today, LLS officially announced the National 2021 Students of the Year winners, Team NewGen co-candidates — 16-year-old Charlie Farrell and 16-year-old twins Isabelle Ashley and William Ashley of The Branson School in Ross, California, who broke a new fundraising record, raising more than $660,000 to support LLS in funding lifesaving research, support for patients, and critical advocacy efforts.

 All three candidates on this unstoppable team know firsthand the devastation of cancer. Amazingly, Farrell and his father are both cancer survivors, and the Ashley siblings lost their beloved grandmother to cancer — but their mission to end cancer is profoundly bigger than themselves.

 “Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer in the U.S., and it does not discriminate no matter your age, gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status,” said Farrell.

 “We know that everyone has been impacted by cancer in some way or another and through Students of the Year, we are making sure that our generation is the last one to experience it,” said Isabelle Ashley.

 NewGen’s top teammates included Kate Hatfield, John Swanson Traina and Margaux Barber, who also attend The Branson School. According to LLS Northern California Region Executive Director, Renee Croteau, Team NewGen was strategic in building their team, leading with collaboration. It is through their combined efforts that they achieved such phenomenal results, propelling Students of the Year to the next level — I could not be prouder of the entire team!”

 NewGen wasn’t the only team to break records. The 2021 National Students of the Year runners-up, Team CUREsaders 16-year-old Kaeden Koons-Perdikis, 17-year-old Ella Song and 18-year-old Calla O’Neil of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School and Whittle School and Studios in Washington D.C. raised an outstanding $546,000 for LLS, breaking a new fundraising record for all runners-up teams in the campaign’s history.

 “We are so proud to break a new Students of the Year fundraising record but knowing the funds we raised are fueling LLS’s lifesaving work is what means the most to us,” said O’Neil, whose own father is a blood cancer survivor.

 Koons-Perdikis was shocked to learn how many people have stories of being personally touched by cancer throughout their campaign. “My teammates and I are honored to play a part in changing future stories for the better,” she said.

 Song emphasizes, “We were so amazed to see what a group of high school students can do when they work together.”

 “I’m always in awe of what our Students of the Year candidates can accomplish, and we’re so grateful for the thousands of extraordinary students and volunteers who are helping blood cancer patients thrive,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS President and CEO. “Thanks to their tireless efforts, I know we have a bright future ahead of us, and LLS can continue to do more for those impacted by blood cancer than any organization in the world. Together, we are changing the landscape of cancer for patients and their families.”

 Funds raised through Students of the Year have helped LLS invest more than $1.3 billion in cutting-edge blood cancer research worldwide, leading to breakthroughs in treatment. And, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, LLS remains laser-focused on its mission priorities: ResearchEducation & Support and Policy & Advocacy.

 n 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. To learn more about the Students of the Year program and how you or someone you know can get involved, visit,

 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, NY, LLS has regional offices throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit Patients should contact the LLS Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., ET.

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