Peralta students raise money to fight cancer

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The Peralta Elementary School gym was filled with children eager to help second-grade student Cynthia Jaquez-Nevarez, whose leukemia has returned.

Deborah Fox-News-Bulletin photo: Manuel Jaquez-Nevarez, front row, from the left, his mother Rita Nevarez-Jaquez, her daughter Cynthia Jaquez-Nevarez, Godmother, Lupita Aguirre, and in-law Hilda Jaquez, were special guests at the kick off for Peralta Elementary School’s Pennies for Patients campaign, a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and their classmate.

The students and staff were assembled to kick off the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser “Pennies for Patients.”

Cynthia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was 3 years old. She underwent successful treatment, but last December she became sick, and was diagnosed with leukemia again in February.

This particular leukemia is the most common form of childhood cancer, and is a fast-growing cancer of the white blood cells.

She is currently in her third cycle of chemotherapy, administered at regular visits to the pediatric oncology unit at the University of New Mexico Hospital, but this time, when the cancer is gone, she will need a bone marrow transplant, and the family will have to travel to Denver.

“They’re thinking some time in November,” said Amy Osborne, a Peralta Elementary school counselor. “And when we do the blood drive (United Services Blood Drive on Tuesday, May 7), we’re also going to do a bone marrow drive to try to get people on the registry list, and try to find a match for Cynthia.”

Peralta students have been given special little boxes to collect donations of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to pour into large water jugs in their classrooms at school.

The school’s goal is to raise $3,000 during a three-week period, $500 more than they raised during the campaign last year.

They are seeking donations from family and friends only, and donation jars have also been placed out in the community.

Poster thermometers for each grade level are posted in the school hallway, so students can keep track of which grade is collecting the most change. The grade level that collects the most change receives a pizza party, said Peralta Elementary Principal Monica Arguello.

Contributions specifically designated for Cynthia and her family can be labeled for Cynthia Jaquez-Nevarez and her family.

Since 1994, Pennies for Patients fundraisers have raised millions of dollars in pennies and spare change in more than 10 million elementary, middle and high school students throughout the country.

The top schools in each area can win other prizes such as computers, electronics and sports equipment.

To donate, call Peralta Elemenatry School at 869-2679, or email Monica Arguello at marguello@llschools.net.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.