Contribute to the Cure

Reese Bennett, Columnist

Horizon Honors Secondary School is participating, along with 27,000 schools across the United States, to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Leukemia is a cancer where white blood cells abnormally multiply and overcrowd one’s red blood cells and platelets. The excessive amount of infected white blood cells cause everything else to not function properly, resulting in organ failure. Lymphoma is a cancer that occurs when lymphocytes, a cell in the immune system that fights infection, grows out of control and begins to negatively affect the body. There are many different types of lymphocytes, and each grows differently. Lymphoma can have two types: Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s. According to Mayo Clinic, whether a patient has Hodgkin or Non-Hodgkin lymphoma depends on which lymphocyte is being affected. Doctors can tell which kind a patient has by looking under a microscope and searching for an  unusual cell called a Reed-Sternberg cell. If the Reed-Sternberg cell is present, then it is Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If the Reed-Sternberg cell is vacant, it’s Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Mayo Clinic also states that both cancers affect up to 200,000 people per year in America. Leukemia and lymphoma impact many people’s lives, from newborns to the elderly. Although treatable, these cancers can often prove to be fatal.

Horizon Honors math teacher Jessica Bradley chose to sponsor the LLS Fundraiser. She kindly took some time to answer a couple of questions about the drive.

The Horizon Sun: Why did you choose to sponsor the LLS Fundraiser?

Jessica Bradley: These kinds of fundraisers are for cancer organizations, who use the money and the things they earn and they put them towards finding a cure for leukemia and lymphoma. I think this is a fun way to involve the school with this kind of drive. The fundraiser is based off of competition. So, each block three is going to be competing to see who can raise the most money.

The Sun: What does this drive mean to you?

JB: I really like the idea of helping children who have been affected by cancer, and, I mean, these cancers aren’t child-specific, of course, but they do affect them. But although this is geared towards leukemia and lymphoma, I feel like eliminating all cancer is a worthy cause.

With that being said, you should definitely donate to the cause. You can do this by dropping any amount of money into a box meant for the fundraiser. These boxes are in your block three classrooms. Your donations could change lives. However, although a few cancer research organizations use your money wisely, not all of them do. You have to be careful where you donate. According to Charity Navigator, there are some trustworthy organizations for leukemia and lymphoma, like the Leukemia Research Foundation and the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, as well as the Lymphoma Research Foundation. A good overall charity is the Cancer Research Institute. There are more, but research would have to be done to make sure that your money is used exactly how it is said it will be used.

However, when charities do good, the world does better. Breast cancer, for example, has seen a 32 percent decrease of deaths due to breast cancer just because of donations, according to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Even if it’s just loose change, consider donating money to help improve affected patients’ lives and find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma.