Students at Cayman Prep and High School have raised $12,000 in support of childhood cancer research, inspired by 8-year-old Hannah Meeson, who was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer in 2012.
The school’s student council voted to support the “Heroes for Hannah” fund by organizing a coin-drop, in which students brought in extra loose change and held fundraisers, and classes competed to see which one could raise the most money.
“Thank you,” said Hannah as she received the check from students last week during an early morning assembly at the school.
“The money will go to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a U.S. nonprofit organization that raises money for children’s cancer,” said Hannah’s mother, Gaylene Meeson. She said she is passionate about spreading awareness of childhood cancer and the desperate need for money for research.
“‘Heroes for Hannah is just short $5,000 to reach $1 million raised for St. Baldrick’s Foundation since the Cayman team started fundraising in 2013. You went the extra mile in the community and did yourselves proud on behalf of kids fighting cancer, not just in Cayman but worldwide,” Mrs. Meeson told the students. “The school is amazing.”
Three weeks before the students organized the coin-drop, Hannah and her mother went to the school to speak with the students about children’s cancer and how they needed money for research, and the treatment children had to go through.
“I did not realize they would take it so seriously and with such determination,” Mrs. Meeson said. “They are phenomenal. “They give us hope because the more we spread awareness and the more we take action for cancer research, the bigger difference it will make, and get us closer to a cure.”
Karen Doran, the school’s student council coordinator, said the fundraiser got started after the student council tossed around a few ideas and eventually came up with the coin-drop. The classroom that raised the most money was rewarded with a party.
“The children were truly inspired,” said Ms. Doran. “They brought in their own pocket money, searched their homes, down the backs of sofas for extra spare coins, and they organized bake sales and lemonade stalls in order to raise extra coins. They brought in coins by the bag full to fill the empty drinking water bottles [donated by Flowers] in their classrooms.”
Kitty Callender, a student who organized a bake sale with classmates, said, “I feel good about giving the money to Hannah because children who have cancer will get better care.” Student Lydia Smith said her class was saving up enough money to give Hannah some presents so she would remember them.