SYRACUSE — Cancer, it can certainly be said, “hits very close to home” and deeply affects many people, whether locally or elsewhere. So raising money for research into ways to fight cancer more effectively was a logical choice for a fundraiser.
A trio of Wawasee High School students — juniors Nick Lesko and Conner Lucas and freshman Devin Van Lue — spent nine hours between them (6 a.m. to 3 p.m.) during a radio-a-thon on the school’s radio station, 93.7 FM, The Mix, Dec. 17. They raised nearly $1,500 for the American Cancer Society during the day.
All three students are part of the school’s student council and were tasked with “actively participating in helping the community,” Conner said. He and Nick did something similar last year on the air when they raised funds for hurricane relief.
Devin’s mother, Shawna Van Lue, is an event leader for the ACS Relay for Life annual event in Kosciusko County. Devin has been on a relay team for a few years and is the captain of the high school’s relay team this year, so it was decided the radio-a-thon would be done to aid the ACS.
During the fundraiser, the students were joined on the air for a while by Wendy Mang, an ACS representative who also fed the students breakfast. Mang provided valuable information on cancer statistics and facts, noted Jeremy Van Lue, Pathways radio and TV instructor. A few cancer survivors also stopped by the studio to share testimonies on the air and Pizza Hut provided lunch for the students.
Also during the fundraiser, Don Bokhart of the Knights of Columbus, who is a member of the Wawasee School Board, presented a $700 check. The money was raised by the Knights the Saturday prior to the radio-a-thon.
The fundraiser was the first of three phases of raising funds for the ACS this school year. The second phase will be held during the Wawasee girls basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 22, when the high school Relay for Life team will sell T-shirts, there will be a five-on-five teacher playoff during halftime and raffles throughout the evening.
An overall goal of the high school is to raise $3,000 for ACS, while Kosciusko County has a goal of raising $50,000. Money raised stays in the local area to help families affected by cancer.
Conner said the radio-a-thon “was a good opportunity to raise money and awareness for Kosciusko County” about cancer. Jeremy, who was also part of the radio-a-thon, noted he feels the three students learned “the importance of giving back to the community.”
He said having a fundraiser near the end of the year was timed “because that is when people are probably the most generous with in kind donations and can still get tax deductions.”
Relay for Life will be held June 8 at Central Park in Warsaw.