Coins for a Cause

Student-led cancer fundraiser proves resounding success


Courtesy of Mary Robinson.

Justin Peabody, Copy Editor

$172,956.42. That’s how much money freshman Mary Robinson and a team of fellow students, friends, and neighbors raised via a 7-week fundraising campaign called Student Visionaries of the Year, established by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The collected donations will be used to support the Society’s continued efforts to educate millions of leukemia and lymphoma patients across the country about their diagnoses and fund medical research for potential cures. 

Robinson signed up to join the Society last October. After two or so months of planning, the campaign was officially launched in January. 

The fundraiser’s efforts truly touched the entire community. Smaller domination efforts and partnerships were made with Mod Pizza, Panda Express, Charisma, and A La Mode. Even more money was raised through the distribution of care packages to patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Astounding donations were received from larger companies such as the Hamilton Collection, which gave the Society all of its proceeds from automobile sales from the entire month of February. The generosity of individual donors contributed greatly as well. 

Sadly, two of the campaign members’ family passed away from leukemia and lymphoma during the fundraiser. Robinson says this was a tragic loss for her entire team, but in the end, these losses bolstered their funds by increasing donors’ desires to develop a cure. 

Robinson says that her decision to be involved in such a noble effort was the culmination of several personal connections with cancer patients. 

When Robinson was very young, her family was close with another young girl named Mollie, who had suffered from leukemia. After her family participated in a fundraising walk called Marching for Mollie, Mollie passed away from the cancer.

Upon graduating from South Middle School, Robinson received an accolade called the Matthew Ives Award, inspired by Matthew Ives, a former South student who passed away from leukemia in eighth grade. Robinson was nominated for the award by her fellow students on the basis of academic achievement as well as school and community involvement. Her older sister had also received the award.

“[My sister and I] just really felt inspired by [Matthew Ives’] story to do this and help other kids with leukemia and lymphoma,” Robinson said.

Last year, Robinson’s own grandfather passed from cancer (not leukemia or lymphoma).

“That was another big reason why I wanted to do this, just so that no other families had to go through what I had to go through…I know it’s really difficult to watch people go through [cancer],” Robinson said.