Student philanthropists compete to raise money in fight against blood cancer

A group of local teens are making a difference one dollar at a time. The Students of the Year Campaign is underway benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Every dollar raised equals a vote. At the end of the seven week campaign the student with the most votes wins. 

It's the first year for the fundraising competition in Central Texas. One little girl in Leander is inspiring each student. 

Makenzey Smith is a cancer survivor. Last year she was diagnosed with lymphoma. She was a healthy first grader and one day went to her mom, Abby, with a knot on her shoulder. 

The Smith family would a good part of 2016 in and out of Dell Children's Medical Center. 

"It was pretty rough to go through it," said Makenzey, 8. 

The aggressive chemotherapy made her pretty sick. 

"Six months of treatments, losing her appetite. There were lots of prayers and family support," said Blake Smith, Makenzey's dad. 

She is now in remission and inspiring a group of students who are raising money through the South Central Texas chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Makenzey is the honored hero for the Students of the Year Campaign. 

"We might not be doing chemo right now but I want to teach Makenzey that we are there for those kids and to help other families," said Smith. 

"They share her story and run in her honor and her fight against blood cancer," said Whitney Musitano, the area director for the South Central Texas Chapter of LLS. 

"We fundraise with adults but to see kids take ownership of it and be creative it's off to a great start," said Musitano. 

"It's so awesome to see these kids taking their time to help. It doesn't get much better than that for sure," said Abby Smith. 

Makenzey will always remember her fight and those on her team. She is grateful for all of the help.

"To see her getting healthier and doing better words don't describe it," said Smith. 

The following students are taking part in the campaign. You have until Wednesday, March 1st to donate. 

Aadarsh Jha - Liberal Arts and Science Academy

Abby Chambless - Hyde Park Baptist High School

Abby Richter - McCallum High School 

Chase Bradley - Hyde Park Baptist High School 

David Florez - Bowie High School 

Emily McBreen - Salado High School 

Georgia Wright - Regents School of Austin

Isabella Young & Hannah Grice - St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School 

Jaelyn Knight - Georgetown High School 

Kennedy Robinson - Liberty Hill High School 

Peyton Woolsey - Bowie High School 

Shreya Gupta, Carolina Gokingco & Sumin Choi - Liberal Arts & Science Academy 


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