Reynoldsburg News

Pennies for Patients

School fundraiser nets more than $550

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Fourth-grader Kylie Gilliam reads to the class while wearing pajamas, a sleep mask and slippers during Put Leukemia to Rest Day at French Run Elementary School on March 28. Students and staff could pay $1 and wear pajamas to school that day as part of the Pennies for Patients fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Students went to school in pajamas and fuzzy slippers last week at French Run Elementary School, greeting teachers who also sported comfy sleepwear instead of school clothes.

Principal Chris Hardy said it was not a typical school day.

"It was really funny to see the kids and staff members dressed in their pajamas," he said. "I saw everything from Spiderman to Tinker Bell and teachers with fuzzy slippers."

Pajamas were allowed March 28 because it was Put Leukemia to Rest Day -- the day before spring break began and the last day for French Run's Pennies for Patients fundraising campaign.

The two-week campaign began March 18 with an assembly at which fourth-grade teacher Kristen Frystak presented information about Pennies for Patients.

Hardy said students brought in pennies, other spare change and donations each school day during the fundraiser.

"Pennies for Patients is a cancer fundraiser benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that educates students about the diseases and encourages them to bring spare change for the cause," he said. "Mrs. Frystak headed up our campaign and built different theme days to motivate students to give."

Themes for the first week included "Guess Who's Fighting Leukemia," where students paid 25 cents each to guess how many pennies were in a jar; and Crazy for a Cure Day, where students wore their hair in "crazy" ways. Students and staff members paid $1 to wear a hat all day in school during Put a Cap on Cancer Day.

Students wore favorite team jerseys during the second week, on Team Up Against Leukemia Day, and wore French Run spirit gear on Soar to a Cure Day.

They also wore camouflage clothing for Fight Cancer Day.

Hardy said the school raised $553.95 in the Pennies for Patients campaign.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society provides schools with coordinator guides, collection boxes, posters, banners and letters that explain the fundraiser to parents.

Schools win prizes such as class parties, pennants and plaques.

"We communicated the different themes for each day over the announcements and in classrooms through newsletters and agendas," Hardy said.

He said teachers and administrators emphasize service learning at French Run.

"We place a large emphasis on making a positive impact on the greater good and affecting people and places outside of our own," he said.

He said the school has raised money for the American Heart Association and Hats for Heroes.

"We also wrote letters to the police department, thanking them for their service, sent snowflakes to Sandy Hook Elementary and collected food for Helping Hands," he said. "We want our students not only to excel in academics, but to learn how to make a positive impact everywhere they go."