… and a Goal to Raise $50,000 to Fight Blood Cancers
By Spencer Katz
In 2008, I turned four years old. That was the year I had a Backyardigans-themed birthday party and dressed up like Batman for Halloween. It was also the year that I first hear the word “cancer” because that was the year that my mom was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. I was only in nursery school and too young to really understand the impact of this diagnosis. But I watched as my mom underwent months of chemotherapy, lost her hair, and fought to survive. Luckily, she did survive.
Now that I am 16 and a junior at Horace Greeley High School, I understand the impact of a diagnosis like my mom’s. I have been heartbroken as too many of my friends lost parents to blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, and I have watched many others fight for survival. And blood cancer, specifically leukemia, is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in children and young adults. So I decided to take action to find a cure for blood cancers.
When I was nominated as a candidate in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Students of the Year campaign, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the fight against blood cancers. Students of the Year is a seven-week philanthropic competition for high school leaders seeking to make an impact in the fight against cancer. I joined the campaign in honor of my mother and all those who currently are fighting blood cancers, and in memory of those who have lost those battles.
This year’s campaign begins on January 21st and ends with a grand finale on March 11th. The funds raised benefit the LLS mission to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. And it can help so many others too–many treatments initially developed for blood cancers are now also helping people affected by many different types of cancer. Since the campaign’s inception in 2014, the Students of the Year program has made an incredible impact for cancer research, patient aid, and community outreach programs.
I am so honored to be able to represent Horace Greeley High School and our entire community in this campaign.
I am aiming high and have set a goal of raising $50,000 to find a cure for blood cancers. Yes, I know that this is an extremely ambitious goal, but I am determined to leave my mark on the fight against cancer to the best of my ability. And I have the legacy of so many loved friends and family as the motivation behind my campaign. My campaign will provide support to the critical work of LLS in hopes that one day no one will have to watch a loved one suffer and fight to survive, or worse, grow up without the ones they love.
Not only is Students of the Year a great way to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but it is also a great leadership experience for me. Being part of this campaign means so much to be, and I am proud to help my generation be the last to see cancer. I can’t wait to share the exciting updates of the next seven weeks with you. Stay tuned to see what my team and I can accomplish.
If anyone reading this feels as I do, it would mean a lot to me if you would consider becoming part of the cure and making a donation to my campaign. To donate online or for more information, please visit my fundraising campaign website Team Katz Fights Cancer!
And please email me at TeamKatzFightsCancer@gmail.com to share stories of your loved ones impacted by blood cancer. I would love to add them to the list of those I am fighting for. I truly hope that together we can make a true difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families, not just in our community, but everywhere.