SUISUN CITY — Suisun Elementary School fourth-grader Billy Lopez decided that helping children who have cancer is more important than getting that video game he was saving up for.
Meanwhile, Andres Zabala went to everyone in his apartment complex asking them for their spare change.
As a result of the actions of children such Lopez and Zabala, the children of Suisun Elementary School were able to raise more than $2,083 in loose change, which is now on its way to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“It makes us feel good to be helping kids with cancer,” said student government vice president and fourth-grader Kevin Melendez, one of the student government members who organized the school’s Pennies for Patients drive that wrapped up Friday.
Pennies for Patients is one of the programs created by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s School & Youth Programs that has involved children in raising awareness, raising money and helping fight against blood cancers for the past 16 years. So far, it has raised more than $211 million for research and patient services.
It all started when a Pennies for Patients representative contacted teacher Brenda Rough, who mentors the student council, and then made a presentation before the council.
The result was a unanimous vote to hold a drive and ask the rest of the student body to chip in, according to class representative and fifth-grader Megan Vilaisack.
“We then brought people from Pennies for Patients to a student assembly,” said student government president and fifth-grader Gabriele Parez. “It was really fun and we really encouraged them to help out.”
The children who donated got stickers saying that they made a difference for kids with cancer.
Jenele Jackson’s third-grade class raised $380. The school’s special education program also raised almost $200.
Lopez’s individual contribution was more that $50, “because he told his parents that helping kids with cancer is more important than a video game,” Rough said.
“It shows what a really giving, caring community this is,” she said.
Not willing to rest of their accomplishment, the Suisun Elementary School student government is now planning to work on ways to combat bullying on campus and help other children prepare for the upcoming California Standards Tests.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.