After a highly successful Laps for Leukemia Color Run, several lemonade stands and the help of the Colonial community, Plymouth Elementary School (PE) has surpassed their $25,000 goal and will be donating $30,968.90 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) — making PE the top elementary school fundraiser for LLS in the country.
"My favorite was the lemonade stands," said PE Second Grader Mia Mascaro, who raised $670 and was the fourth highest student fundraiser in the school. "We did it at Corropolese; we did it at the baseball park. I think we got a lot of money."
A history of support
For the past five years, Plymouth Elementary School's Spirit Team — a community service club open to third grade students at the school — has voted to support the LLS through "Pennies for Patients." A couple years ago, they took it into the community with a fundraising walk called "Laps for Leukemia" at Harriet Wetherill Park and last year added color to the run.
"My favorite part was helping kids with cancer, because if they're super sick and the medicine is really expensive, the money can help pay for it," said PE Second Grader Christian DiGiacomo.
Funding a research grant
After raising more than $21,000 in 2018, PE found out that a $25,000 donation came with extra incentives.
"$25,000 is a big benchmark, because they get to name a research grant and direct the funds to a certain portfolio that we're supporting at LLS," said Hannah Reagan, Senior Campaign Manager of the Student Series Campaign of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. "It's a great way to recognize the contributions they made and direct it toward a specific blood cancer that means something to their school."
Once this year's Laps for Leukemia Color Run was complete, PE was still more than $5,000 short, and the students stepped up their efforts.
"It was really amazing how they found different ways to meet their goal," said PE Second Grade Teacher Michelle Weidamoyer, who coordinated the effort for the school and whose class raised more than $6,000 for the cause. "They really worked together as a team, which was very special. For them, it was such an exciting learning experience."
A community effort
Other Colonial School District schools also offered help. Colonial Elementary School and Ridge Park Elementary School each held Pajama Day, raising approximately $2,800 to support the effort, and the Plymouth Whitemarsh High School Parent Teacher Student Organization sent $500 in honor of PE students now at the high school.
"Our community is incredibly generous," said PE Principal Rosemarie Gregitis. "It's great to see everyone coming together to help the kids see their hard work turn into such an honor for Plymouth Elementary and the District as a whole."
PE has selected to fund a research portfolio specifically targeting pediatric cancer. The school will receive annual progress reports and will be listed in the LLS Annual Report as a top campaign fundraiser and research supporter. PE's donation is the most raised by any elementary school and fourth highest out of more than 27,000 K-12 schools across the country.
"When you think about K-3 kids coming together how they did, under the great leadership of Mrs. Weidamoyer and some of the other wonderful teachers who work here, it's a huge accomplishment," said Ms. Reagan from the LLS. "The kids did fantastic."