Andrews student Aiken organizes Laps for Leukemia
Andrews middle and high schoolers walked from 3:15-5 p.m. Tuesday to raise money and bring awareness toward the blood cancer leukemia.
The Laps for Leukemia fundraiser took place on Andrews High School’s track. Sophomore Juliana Aiken was inspired to start the event after being touched by a commercial about leukemia from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
When she asked her principal and the physical education coach about the idea of holding Laps for Leukemia, Juliana said they enthusiastically jumped on board.
“I hope that the town has a better sense of community and we all come together for a great cause,” Aiken said.
Julie Aiken, Juliana’s mom, accepted donations outside of the track and started a campaign to raise money on Facebook. All of the funds raised through the event and Facebook will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help with leukemia studies and kids in need of treatment.
So far, Juliana has raised $520 on Facebook.
Julie said her daughter has started multiple fundraisers, including one for Hurricane Harvey relief.
“She always does this kind of stuff,” she said. “I’m always awed by whatever she does.”
One of the most memorable donations of the day came from a young attendee. Julie said an 11-year-old boy walked up to her and gave away 55 cents.
“He said, ‘It’s all I have, but I want to give it to help cure children,’ ” she recounted with emotion.
Most of the kids who attended the event included those from the Andrews High track team and middle school’s 21st Century Kids club.
Sixth-grade friends Marlee Postell, Callie Silvers and Macie Postell said they came out to the event to raise awareness about people battling with leukemia.
“I have no idea what it’s like to have leukemia,” Marlee said. “I was happy that Juliana put this on.”
Silvers said the three of them read a book in elementary school titled Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, which followed the story of a girl battling with leukemia. The three girls agreed that the book left a large impact on them at an early age.
“It’s such a sad book,” Silvers said. “Leukemia is a serious matter, and it’s sad to know that a lot of people have it.”