Washington Union students aiming to raise $200,000 for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Jessica Harrington Image
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Washington Union aiming to raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Two students at Washington Union High are on a mission to raise money in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two students at Washington Union High are on a mission to raise money in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

As Student Visionaries of the Year, they're in a nationwide competition to fight blood cancer.

Monday morning, Washington Union High School Senior Grenelei Finderup and Junior Abril Jimenez were folding up letters and stuffing envelopes.

They were also perfecting their pitch.

Selected to be part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Student Visionaries of the Year program, they're part of a nationwide seven-week philanthropic competition to raise money in honor of those affected by blood cancer.

The fundraising kicks off on Thursday, Feb. 29.

Students are also learning valuable entrepreneurship, marketing and project management skills.

Abril says she wasn't confident with public speaking.

"In the beginning for me, it felt very rocky," she said.

Working with her class in the Health Science and Medical Technology pathway, it helped build her confidence and shape how they planned to tackle their fundraising goals.

"Once that was set in stone, it was easy to just keep moving forward with it," Abril said.

Their mission is driven in part by their honored hero, Rebeka Henkelmann.

She's a current Buchanan High Student who is now in remission after being diagnosed with AML Leukemia in March of last year.

Student visionaries can run on one of three pillars: research, advocacy or patient support.

Grenelei and Abril both decided to focus on research.

So far, they have already met with and secured pledges from Valley Children's Hospital and Sun-Maid.

"It's pretty much based on who we know and who we can get through," Grenelei said.

Tyler Graham, the Campaign Development Manager for the Fresno Region says students in the Central Valley make a major impact.

"Last year, their 12 teams brought in just over $850,000. This year, we have 14 teams, about 27 students and we're trying to raise $1 million."

Grenelei and Abril's team is known as the WUHS Future Health Professionals.

They have their own QR code to ensure donations count toward their overall goal of $200,000.

But more than anything, they say they want to make a difference.

"Our true hope is that we can just impact our community in any way and those who struggle with blood cancer whether that's finding a cure, helping the patients and the families go through a hard time or educating those on blood cancer," Grenelei said.

On March 22, the young ladies will host a movie night fundraiser at Washington Union High School.

They're showing The Minions.

You can buy tickets at the door and the first 100 people to arrive get a free Chick-fil-A sandwich.

You can find more information about sponsorships or make a donation between Feb. 29 and April 19 to the "WUHS Future Health Professionals" team by clicking here.

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