Watertown Middle School Kicks Off Pennies for Patients Drive

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Last year, Watertown Middle School students collected more than $30,000 in donations to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and they hope to beat it in this year’s Pennies for Patients drive, which begins March 2.

The middle school sent out the following announcement about their drive:

This year, the Watertown Middle School will again be participating in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s School & Youth Program, Pennies for Patients — a three-week coin, cash, and check drive to raise funds to find cures for blood cancers. Our drive will run from March 2 through March 23.

As you may know, leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20. Mr. Johnson, our physical education teacher, is a lymphoma survivor. Our fundraising is in honor of him and in memory of two other WMS teachers, Pat Stayn and Peter Clough, who died as a result of lymphoma. In addition, in recent years, several of our parents have battled these diseases, some successfully and others without success. Our student lymphoma survivor, Zach, is now a college freshman. Our two Leukemia survivors, Chris and Stamati, are freshmen at WHS. All the more reason we continue to raise money towards finding a cure.

Last year we raised an amazing $31,082.30. We were the highest school in the Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts region for the eleventh year in a row and we were the fifth highest school in the country out of over 28,000 schools. With only 545 students, we raise more money per student than most schools in the entire country. In our eleven years, of participation, we have collected almost $260,000.  We were especially honored last year to have a fourth research grant presented in the name of the Watertown Middle School to one of the researchers working to find a cure.

Most schools in the top ten in the country have some kind of corporate or business sponsorship or a matching fund partnership. We have had some generous business donations in the past but the bulk of our funds come from Middle School families and friends and from the families of those we honor. We are especially grateful to the Clough family for their support in memory of Peter Clough. Their generous support helped us raise a record amount. Watertown resident Kevin Ryan has also designated on-going support for our campaign in memory of his mother Margaret and his brother Michael Ryan. Many retired WMS teachers continue to support our campaign.

We want to thank those businesses and groups that supported us last year.  A generous donation from the Rotary Club of Watertown gave us a great start last year and for the last several years. In addition, we acknowledge the support of Firehouse Inn at the Kendall Hotel, McGeough – Lamacchia Realty, Messina Koufas Associates, Patriot Benefit Services, Loughran & Corbett Attorneys, Vickie Lee Bakeshop, Talk Restaurant, Caterpillars to Butterflies Childcare, A Barber Shop, Elements of Belmont, Galen Realty, Watertown Donuts, Inc, Westin Hotel, Waltham, Nardone Funeral Home, Miller Tracy Children’s Foundation, Paul O’Reilly CPA, Anthony Donato, Attorney-at Law, Watertown Savings Bank, Watertown Ford, Foley Construction, Watertown Animal Hospital, Susan Wright School of Dance, Sideris Auto Body Services, the New Rep Theatre, Randy’s Car Wash, Hope Elder Law, and Russo’s. The Watertown Savings Bank also supports this project by counting all the coin for us.  As you can imagine that would be a daunting task without their assistance. We would also like to thank the many businesses that allowed us to place collection boxes in their establishments. While too numerous to mention, those boxes brought in several thousand dollars. We also thank the many local residents who saw our sign and dropped off or mailed in donations and the many people who donated on-line.

The Middle School would be grateful for any donation, large or small, to help this great cause. Checks should be made payable to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you know of a business that would be willing to put out one of our collection boxes, we would be very appreciative.  Perhaps you have been saving coin for years and would like to donate it. You may drop donations off at the Middle School during regular school hours. If you would like to have a box or if you have any questions, please contact Eleanor Donato at 617- 926-7783  ext. 35507 or eleanor.donato@watertown.k12.ma.us

If you can’t support us with a cash contribution, we welcome the donation of prizes or gift certificates that we can use in a raffle to raise funds.  If you can help in that way, please email or call Mrs. Donato and we will pick up your donation.

If you prefer, your donation can be sent directly to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 9 Erie Drive, Natick, MA  01760, please note that it is in support of the Watertown Middle School. Donations may also be made on line at: ma.sy.llsevent.org/watertownmiddleschool

The Watertown Middle School Student Council would like to thank you for helping them make a difference in finding a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma and for helping people who battle these blood cancers. The success the Middle School has had is a tribute to the entire Watertown Community.

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