Pennies for Patients is Back! Find Out How to Help the Effort to Cure Blood Cancers

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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, organizers announced. Our drive will run from March 2 through March 24. 

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 junior. Our two Leukemia survivors, Chris and Stamati, are juniors at WHS. All the more reason we continue to raise money towards finding a cure.

Last year we raised an amazing $42,989.16. We were the highest school in the Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts region for the thirteenth year in a row and we were the 4th highest school in the country out of over 28,000 schools.  With only 550 students, we raised more money per student than any school in the entire country.  In our thirteen years, of participation we have collected $337,428.90. We were especially honored last year to have a sixth 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 students, teachers, staff, families and friends as well as from the families of those we honor. We are especially grateful to the Clough family for their yearly support in memory of Peter Clough and to John Stayn for his donation in memory of Pat Stayn. 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. Special thanks go to Judy and Peter Zimmerman. Their generous continued support helped us raise a record amount.

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 again this year.  In addition, we acknowledge the support of Firehouse Inn at the Kendall Hotel, JC Cannistraro, Watertown Ford, Lamacchia Realty, Ari Koufos/Realty Executives, Athena Health, Patriot Benefit Services, Watertown Firefighters Local #1347, Loughran & Corbett Attorneys, Watertown Donuts, Inc, Sons of Italy, Nardone Funeral Home, Dr. William Byrne DDS, Metro Minimart, Anthony Donato, Attorney-at Law, Watertown Savings Bank, Graphic Connections, Sideris Auto Body Services, The Bancroft Restaurant, Stormtite, Randy’s Car Wash, Bay State Cleaning Service, Leonard Holt, Senator William Brownsberger, Representative Jonathan Hecht, CorePowerYoga, Elements Massage of Belmont, Costco, Waltham, Star Market, Cambridge, and Vicki Lee’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 or donated on-line.

The Middle School would be grateful for any donation, large or small, to help this great cause would be appreciated 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 Andrew Allegro at 617- 926 –7783  (X35307) or

Teachers Andrew Allegro, Aine Dirrane and Chris McDermott are in charge of this year’s campaign.

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 Mr. Allegro 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:

There will be a rummage sale on Saturday, March 11 at the Middle School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations can be dropped off to the Middle School this week. Faculty will be available Friday afternoon to accept donations. Please plan to donate and to shop on Saturday. All proceeds go to the LL&S Society. There will also be a Skate Night at the Ryan Rink, Thursday March 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the Student Faculty Basketball Game will be at the WMS Gym on Thursday, March 16 at 6 p.m. These are just a few of the events which will help us reach our goal.

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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