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One Little Penny...One Big Difference
Date:5/18/2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- In a program that gives kids a chance to help other kids, students at Oak Point Intermediate School in Eden Prairie, MN, raised an incredible $42,858.24 through Pennies for Patients, one of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's School & Youth Programs.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090518/NY18617 )

This was $20,000 more than the school raised last year. The money will help fund LLS's research and patient services initiatives.

Oak Point was not the only school across the country to have an extremely successful campaign. The other four top fundraising schools were: Princeton High School in Cincinnati, Ohio ($38,378); Mt. Pisgah Christian School in Johns Creek, Ga. ($32,830); Chaska Middle School West in Chaska, MN ($29,240.58); and Orange High School in Orange, Calif. ($28,000).

"It is so inspiring to see the enthusiasm students bring to this program," said Kristy Lysik, LLS's national director, School & Youth Programs. "Pennies for Patients and the other School & Youth Programs are all about teaching children the value of community service, and the students see that their participation really makes a difference to people who are touched by blood cancers."

Nationally, 25,000 schools registered in the program for the 2008-09 school year, and LLS is projecting results of more than $19 million raised.

Oak Point had special inspiration this year that gave the students an extra incentive: One of their teachers, Mona Hanson, was diagnosed with lymphoma last December.

"The staff and students really stepped up for her," said Oak Point teacher Mark Wavinak, the Pennies coordinator. The school was also visited by Minnesota Vikings football player Kenechi Udeze, who is a leukemia survivor. Another teacher lost her mother to lymphoma this year. Wavinak credits all the teachers and the whole community with helping to motivate the students.

In addition to the penny drive, Oak Point held a variety of creative fundraising events. Local restaurants, including Noodles, Fuddruckers and Domino's Pizza, held special nights where families could eat and have a portion of their bill donated to the Pennies campaign.

"Pennies for Patients is no longer just a school project but an entire Eden Prairie community project," said Wavinak. "With the economy the way it is this year, Eden Prairie showed its generosity and how much they care for others."

To learn more about School & Youth Programs visit www.schoolandyouth.org.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (R) (LLS) 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 and provides free information and support services.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. www.lls.org.

    Andrea Greif
    (914) 821-8958
    andrea.greif@lls.org


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SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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