“We cannot achieve the mission of LLS without volunteers to dedicate their time and energy in fundraising to help beat cancer,” said Perkiomen School tenth grader Paige Iacobacci of Gilbertsville.
Paige and her best friend Gabriela Martin, a tenth grader at Boyertown Area Senior High School, have been nominated as co-candidates for the 2022 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Students of the Year Campaign.
The Students of the Year campaign is a philanthropic leadership development program for high school students to raise as much money as possible for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in seven weeks.
Named Team Purple, their campaign runs from Jan. 7 until Feb. 26.
Inspiration to Make a Difference
“Gaby and I are very passionate about this campaign, and I am very excited to follow the footsteps of my sister, Alyssa, who ran for Student of the Year in 2021,” said Paige. “I saw how much fun she had and the difference her friends were making, so I wanted to help with her campaign last year.”
During Alyssa’s campaign, Paige really wanted to help her sister as much as possible, so she got busy making hot cocoa bombs and dog treats to sell.
“They were a hit! I also had school and other activities on top of my fundraising, so I had to really manage my time to get everything done,” said Paige. “Being involved was such a rewarding experience that I knew I definitely wanted to continue.”
Last year, Alyssa not only surpassed her fundraising goal, but she also won the society’s Mission Award. There were not many opportunities to host events amid the pandemic due to COVID restrictions, especially within restaurants, so Alyssa set her fundraising goal for $15,000. Her team quickly reached her goal, and throughout the campaign, she had to continuously raise the overall goal. In the end, Alyssa’s team raised more than $35,000.
“It was very inspiring to see how much of a difference she was able to make in such a short amount of time, at such a young age,” said Paige. “I have always looked up to my sister, and this influenced me to follow in her footsteps and continue this journey.”
As Alyssa’s campaign came to an end, Paige realized that she could be a candidate and run a team to make a difference also.
“LLS is such an amazing organization, and SoY is such a unique opportunity for high schoolers that I could not resist,” she said.
Gabriela also participated last year with Paige’s sister.
“I got to see how this incredible program worked and how much of a difference it made,” she said. “My experience last year and my connections to cancer inspire me and keep me motivated to do my best in our 2022 LLS Students of the Year campaign.”
Campaign for a Cure
Both have close connections to people who battled cancer or lost their battle and want to do as much as possible to help cancer patients and their families.
“Seeing people battling against this awful disease has always been so inspiring and heroic to me, but it still hurts,” Paige said. “I believe that no one deserves to go through anything so challenging and uncertain. I have been waiting for the day people will no longer have to question tomorrow, and consistently win their battles against cancer.”
Their main goal is to receive the title of “Students of the Year” in the end, and to raise as much money for LLS as possible. Their fundraising goal is about $50,000.
“I hope that through our campaign we can bring people together, and hear experiences and stories involving cancer,” said Paige.
“I also hope that throughout our campaign we can unite the community to fundraise for such an incredible cause,” said Gabriela.
Even though they are running their own campaign, they receive help and ideas from a campaign manager, which they find extremely helpful. They both hope to gain more confidence and strength through public speaking and fundraising through this experience.
“Before this year, I had never planned events, been interviewed for anything, and I did very little public speaking,” said Paige. “I was scared at first, but now I have broken out of my shell, and I am actively searching to do all of those things for our campaign.”
“It is also very comforting to do it all with someone who is going through a similar change,” said Gabriela.
Like Paige, before this year, Gabriela did little public speaking, planning of events or emailing businesses and companies.
“Doing this and being a part of this amazing organization has made me more confident in asking for help because, not only do I have my friend who I get to do all these amazing things with, but also more motivation to work harder because I have become aware of the thousands of cancer patients and families that our fundraising will support,” said Gabriela.
“I can already tell this amazing experience will have a lasting impact on my life. I can’t wait to see how much our team, as well as the rest of the campaign class, has raised to support cancer patients and their families through LLS,” added Gabriela.
Raises Funds and Awareness
Gabriela, Paige and their team members began working on their campaign this fall, planning fundraisers, spreading the word on social media, and sending out letters.
“Overall, our campaign is off to a great start and I am super excited for all the events we have planned,” said Gabriela. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity and excited to see what our team can do this year!”
From Jan. 14 to 21, show the fundraiser flyer posted on Instagram and Facebook and purchases at the Dairy Queen in Gilbertsville go toward the LLS campaign.
On Feb. 11, a drive-in movie showing “The Princess Bride” will be held at Sunnybrook Ballroom. Details will be posted on Sunnybrook website as well as Team Purple’s social media accounts.
On Feb. 12, they will have a table setup outside of Freed’s Market.
“Gaby and I put so much work into this campaign, and we really hope that it shows. I want the community to be inspired by LLS and the work they are doing, just like I am,” said Paige. “I just want to thank my family and friends for being so helpful, and the entire community for being so kind and supportive. It really means the world to Gaby and I, and we can’t wait to see how our hard work pays off.”
“As you know, everyone wins when cancer loses. Thanks to the support of the community, our efforts will help fund LLS supported therapies and treatments that are saving lives,” said Gabriela. “We really are getting close to our goal of a world without blood cancers! I hope that the community sees all of our hard work and will support us either by donating, coming to a fundraiser, or simply spreading the word.”
Follow Team Purple on Instagram @teampurplells and Facebook at ‘Paige Iacobacci (Team Purple)’ for updates throughout their campaign.