By Dawn M Chiossi
Students at Roxbury High School were bestowed the prestigious Excellence in Fundraising Award last month at the 2017 Mini-Thon Leadership Summit from The Four Diamonds Organization in Pennsylvania.
Four Diamonds covers 100 percent of all expenses related to cancer care that is not covered by insurance for eligible Four Diamonds children.
It has assisted an impressive 100 percent of patients treated by Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Mini-Thons are a national movement based off of Penn State’s Thons to help out children struggling with childhood cancer.
Roxbury High School’s Mini-Thon consists of roughly 30 dedicated committee members and leaders, 400 students, and countless others who contribute their efforts and talents.
They raised an impressive $52,237.82 for this cause, and all proceeds went directly to Four Diamonds.
Warm and passionate on the subject of altruism, the students at RHS find purpose in helping. Many still can’t wrap their minds around the honor they received Aug. 4 at the summit.
“We are overwhelmed,” admits Mike Gottfried, advisor for RHS Mini-Thon Club. “The Excellence in Fundraising award was a huge surprise to all of us. We are still in disbelief at the significant growth and student/community support that this cause has received.”
Mini-Thon President, senior Sarah Waldron, who has been involved with Mini-Thons since her freshman year, agrees. “When they called us up to earn a fundraising award my jaw nearly dropped,” Waldron says. “I had to ask Mr. Gottfried if this was real.”
Humble in her response, Waldron says, “We won this award together. Without the committee, our wonderful advisors, and the support from our community, RHS Mini-Thon would not be what it is known to be.”
Mini -Thons are a great and fun way for students to get involved in such a worthy cause. In short, they become empowered to make a difference to the children battling cancer and to those that love them.
The RHS Mini-Thon Club began as part of the Key Club in 2013-14 and unofficially separated a year later, making the Mini-Thon its own club.
The always popular mini-thons at RHS have been going on strong for the past 5 years.
And the numbers just keep growing. According to Gottfried, the amount of students involved in the Mini-Thon has tripled compared to those in just last year.
Originally getting involved with the mini-thons, students at Roxbury wanted to make a difference, to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others.
Gottfried has a special insight on it, “This disease has touched so many of our lives; everyone is, unfortunately impacted by some type of cancer. Because pediatric cancer is the one that most people can relate to, I find people gravitate more to put an end to it.”
Waldron says, “Mini-Thon is a family at Roxbury. I would call it a family, helping out other families. At the end of the day it’s not about how much we raised, it’s about who that money is affecting. Members get involved because they realize that this isn’t about themselves. They begin to see that all the work we are putting out is going to a family that is battling cancer. Cancer affects everyone, not just the child affected with it. Once our members know that, they are willing to fight so much harder for those families.”
The students at Roxbury were filled with energy and selflessness to fuel their hard work. Dedication and devotion to the cause was their mission.
Fundraisers throughout the whole year were varied and appealed to all. Fundraisers included ice cream sales after school, video game nights, a pickleball tournament, candy grams, and much more.
In addition, amounts were greatly enhanced by individual fundraising efforts.
Gottfried describes a 13 hour overnight event. In order to attend, students had to raise a minimum of $35. The top fundraiser of nearly $2,000 came from one student alone, Lexy Fabiani.
“The Mini-Thon has grown significantly since its inauguration at Roxbury High School,” he tells, “What started out as a dream has rapidly become a reality over the last four years.”
Utterly proud and impressed with the students, Gottfried shares that even on the bus ride home the students quickly switched their focus from celebrating, to how to make next year even more successful. For the two-and- a-half hours it took to get home, the Roxbury Mini-Thoner’s spent that time discussing, brainstorming and eagerly sharing ideas.
“I’ve never seen a group of students so motivated to work towards a cause,” Gottfried comments. “It was raw and genuine enthusiasm.”
Goals and aspirations for next year’s Mini-Thon are always for it to continue to expand and grow. They have a monetary goal of a $75,000. While on the surface it may seem like a lofty goal, it is well worth it.
When asked about the moment that she finds most memorable, Waldron does not mention the ceremony. Instead she emotionally describes a visit to the children’s hospital.
“I can never get the picture out of my head of the little girl on a red tricycle in a princess dress and a crown on her shaved head,” describes Waldron. “This was the happiest little girl I’ve ever seen. It broke my heart to know that a disease could take over her smile. Just another reminder on why we are fighting this fight for them.”