Making A Difference: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Group of elementary students giving thumbs up with students walking on a path behind them.


April is a big month for raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in Colonial. Plymouth Elementary School (PE), Colonial Middle School (CMS) and Whitemarsh Elementary School (WE) are hosting unique fundraisers related for the cause, and WE Kindergarten Teacher Shana Genkin is running the Boston Marathon to help bring in money to the organization.

The three efforts together are slated to raise more than $40,000 for patients and their families.

"I'm excited about being part of it, because we're doing it for kids that are sick," explained Mia Jingoli, a PE first grader. 

Laps for Leukemia at Plymouth Elementary School

Students at PE will be raising money during the month of April for their annual "Laps for Leukemia" walk to support Pennies for Patients on May 11 in Harriet Wetherill Park.

"We're raising money for Leukemia, because if we raise money they will get better," said Ella Gidaro, a first grade student at PE. "It'll help them get out of the hospital," added classmate Shane Turzi.

Grandparents looking at options at a table in WES lobby.


Over the past three years they've held the walk, PE has more than doubled what they've raised, starting with $3,500 in 2015 to more than $11,000 last year. This year, the school is aiming to bring in $15,000 for the cause.

"[Last year,] my favorite part was that we got to run and race around with other classes and our friends," said Alex Turzi. "It made me feel happy and very proud, because we were helping other kids that are in need."  

Pennies for Patients at Whitemarsh Elementary School

WE brought in $450 for the cause through a bake sale managed by students in the Life Skills class during Read Across America Week. This spring, the school will hold a contest to see which class can bring in the most "Pennies for Patients," with the goal of raising an additional $1,000. The teachers from the top two classes will have a chance to participate in a game where Principal Donna Drizin will wear a hat full of water on her head and the teachers will take turns pulling out sticks until the water releases onto Mrs. Drizin's head.

Woman in running clothes with hands in air.


The effort also teaches the students that putting everyone's pocket change together can make a difference.

Team in Training: Teacher Shana Genkin

When WE kindergarten teacher Shana Genkin saw the good that the LLS did for her mother-in-law, she knew she had to help raise money and awareness for the organization. After taking up running as a hobby, Mrs. Genkin turned it into a successful fundraising effort for the cause. In 2014, she raised $20,000 for LSS by running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. This year, she has been chosen as one of 50 people from the United States and Canada to represent LLS as the "Team in Training" to run the Boston Marathon on April 16.

"My mother-in-law is alive today due to the research that LLS has done," said Mrs. Genkin. "I'm most excited to represent Team in Training for LLS and hear the cheers as I cross the finish line, knowing that I'm bringing money and awareness to the cause."

Pennies for Patients at Colonial Middle School

The CMS Student Council is hosting "Penny Wars" during lunches to benefit LLS. Pennies, paper money and website donations will contribute to each grade's total, while silver change will be deducted from the grade's total. The fundraiser runs from April 3 through April 30, and the Student Council will update the tally for each grade on Mondays.


Making A Difference: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society