For seven weeks, a dozen exceptional high school students worked tirelessly to raise money to fight blood cancers. As a group, the Student of the Year (SOY) 2019 class raised $182,259. The winner set a new SOY fundraising record with $65,507.50. Over seven weeks, that new record holder (and her motivated, talented team) organized more than 20 fundraising events, boldly approached and met with business owners and potential donors with poise that few high school students have yet developed. The organizational skill, effort and commitment required to set a new fundraising record for SOY Central PA is hard to fathom, but easy to appreciate and admire.
Congratulations Katie Hanshaw for being named the 2019 Central PA Student of the Year by raising $65,507.50 to help find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and all blood cancers. She also collected the coveted 2019 SOY Citizenship Award, and earned the right to name a research grant.
Thank you to all of my friends and business colleagues that participated to make this championship fundraising effort a success. Katie has benefited from this experience in ways that it may take her years to realize.
By the side, prior to the start of the gala I pulled her aside to tell her a story that I will share with you. In 2012, I competed against 1500 other triathletes in the Nations Triathlon to fundraise for the LLS Team in Training program. In the final week of my campaign, I was the top fundraiser in the country. At the award ceremony, certain I had won, they announced that I came in third. I was devastated that day. What I told Katie last night that looking back, I am still proud of my effort and all of the people that benefit from the effort. So I said, “You’ve already won. The people that you helped with your fundraising, the children that may now live, the research that will continue — win, lose or draw makes you a success.” She smiled a little and said, “Thanks Dad”. I asked if she was goofing on me, but she said, “no really”. Later that evening during the celebration I said to her, “It looks like first is a lot more fun than third!” She gave me that same little smile and said, “It is.”
Unfortunately for Katie’s fundraising record, her brother Ryan announced that he will be running for SOY in 2021. Commenting, “I am going to beat her record”.
Know that while the competition to raise funds is compelling, motivating, exciting; but in some ways, distracting to the actual point: The LLS Mission to Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
Congratulations Katie! Exceptionally well done.
Blog Author: Proud Dad