They’re called the . It’s no wonder, then, that their winter fundraiser was such a smashing success.
Students in and District 66 raised $22,676.96 over the course of the past week to help fund cancer research at Northwestern University’s Robert H. Lurie Center.
“I’m extremely proud of all the students from both districts that they came together to raise this much money in one week,” said Principal Mike Fitzgerald. “I think it’s amazing.”
EJH and raised a combined total of $14,000, while Prairieview Elementary and Lakeview Junior High took in just more than $8,600. All of the money raised will go directly to the Lurie Center, organizer Beth Tischler said.
The Cancer Smashers formed as a youth offshoot of the H Foundation, which also raises funds for research at the Lurie Center. For this fundraiser, students sold paper fists for $1 last week during their lunch hours.
With the help of the student councils at the schools, the Cancer Smasher volunteers made posters, cut out the fists and posted them to the walls — all 22,000 of them.
“It was so important for the kids to put their fists up on the walls for everyone to see,” Tischler said. “They really took ownership in this fundraiser which is why I think it was such a success. I am really blown away at the amount some people brought in.”
By Monday morning, hallways at EJH and Lace were lined floor to ceiling with fists. Lace Principal Marty Casey said they had to turn a corner and start posting the paper symbols in a second hallway because the first one filled up.
“If you can get students motivated, you can accomplish great things,” he said.
The classrooms at Lace erupted into cheers Monday afternoon as Casey announced the grand totals from the fundraiser. At the end of the day, kids poured from the building with their arms in the air in celebration.
And thanks to the fundraiser, the Cancer Smashers are getting attention beyond Darien, too. CBS 2 featured the fundraiser, as well as a Jan. 20 , on its 10 p.m. Friday newscast.
Sometime over the next few weeks, the principals at Prairieview and Lakeview will also have to make good on a bet: Janeise Schultz and Paul Windsor agreed to wear District 61 garb for a day if their schools came in second.
While the District 61 victory is good for school pride, Casey said it’s a win-win.
“If they’re able to find a cure for cancer in the students’ lifetime, they’ll be able to say they played a small role,” he said.
For more information on the Cancer Smashers, visit www.cancersmashers.com.