The North Surry HOSA Club sponsored a fundraising drive, Pennies for Patients, to build money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The society asks students to set aside two weeks during which their second-period classes donate money to the organization. This year, Hope Ward’s second-period Spanish 1 class won the drive, collecting $705. Toni Ledford’s second period raised $680, nearly surpassing the winning class. Angie Cave’s class finished third, collecting a little more than $500. As a school, North Surry collected $1,988.
“When we first started this drive, I told my students about losing my uncle in September to AML, a type of leukemia,” said Ward.
Jimmy McCraw was the funeral director at Moody Funeral Home in Mount Airy for many years.
“He was a well-respected and beloved member of the community,” the school said. “He was diagnosed with leukemia in August of 2016. He had a bone-marrow transplant in December of 2017. After being in remission for a short time, the cancer returned, and her uncle lost his battle with leukemia in September 2017.”
“My Uncle Jimmy was the best guy I ever knew,” she said. “He loved people, and he always made you feel better when you were in his presence. I guess that is one of the characteristics that made him so good at his job. He could comfort you easily. He gave the best hugs in the world. He never met a stranger, and people loved Jimmy.”
She said she hoped that by giving her students a personal connection to this disease, they would be motivated to collect, donate and make a difference.
She threw in a few added incentives as they reached certain goals. She promised the students doughnuts when they reached $200.
“I thought it would be pushing it for them to raise $200, but they did it rather quickly. Then I set another goal of $350 for ice cream. They kept surprising me by meeting every challenge I threw out there.”
“We fought for first place like the patients fight for their lives,” said John Ross, a tenth-grader in her class. ”By Mrs. Ward setting goals for us, it made us strive to collect as much money as we could. I really enjoyed the competition and the reward of being the winning class.”
Spreeanne Norris, a sophomore in Ledford’s Health Science 1 class, stated, “We learn about these diseases as part of our curriculum. I enjoyed the competition, and I definitely think that made the students raise more money for a great cause.”
The winning class received free pizza from HOSA. Since the two classes were so close in the amount of money they raised, they decided to join together to celebrate.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my students and really all of the North Surry students for donating to this cause that is now near and dear to my heart,” Ward said.
“My Uncle Jimmy was a 1976 graduate of North Surry High School and his wife, Sheila, also graduated from North Surry. He was always proud of being a Greyhound, and I know he would be proud of the student body for the contribution they are making so that hopefully one day, no one else will have to go through fighting leukemia.”