The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted the second annual “Meet the Researchers Day” on Tuesday. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1000 for the LLS’s Pennies for Patients campaign.
This year, students from Boyle County Middle School (BCMS) in Danville, Ky., and Carroll County Middle School (CCMS) in Carrollton, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK’s campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.
After a formal introduction by Kathleen O’Connor, researcher and associate director of cancer education for the UK Markey Cancer Center, the students had the opportunity to rotate between presentations by pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. John D’Orazio and biochemist Craig Vander Kooi. Additionally, researchers Tianyan Gao and Garretson Epperly assisted O’Connor in giving the students a tour of Markey’s research lab space in the BBSRB.
Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the School & Youth division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.
Kentucky schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 before the March 15 deadline to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. Out of 69 eligible schools across the state, BCMS and CCMS were chosen in a random drawing, raising $1,798.73 and $1,241.66, respectively.
“I am thrilled that we are hosting our second Annual Meet the Researcher Day with the UK Markey Cancer Center,” said Shelia Gustafson, School & Youth Campaign Manager of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “It’s one thing for the students to hear about the importance of raising funds for cancer research when they are in a kickoff assembly. Once they actually see what takes place in a lab, they become empowered to share that significant message with others. Both of these schools did amazing jobs in raising collectively $3,040.39 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and we’re glad we get to reward them with this field trip.”
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