Tartans Take a Stand Against Blood Cancer


Photo by Cassie Fredell

Lizzy Clarke working on her LLS project.

Three teams of LOTAs are competing to raise the most money in only seven weeks. Competing against peers and friends can be awkward, but Holy Cross teams PLS for LLS, Got CUREage, and Tartan Style Cancer are focused and having fun learning something new.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, known as LLS, gives students the challenge of raising money to benefit blood cancer. 

“LLS is a campaign dedicated to raising funds to fight blood cancer, while also being a program that will help develop working and leadership skills,” explained junior Dyarra Mitchell from team Got CUREage. 

The tragic death of 16 year old Robert Roesler de Villiers, due to Leukemia, sparked the idea for the foundation. His parents were frustrated by the lack of effort to treat the disease, and decided they needed to do something. 

The organization began in 1949, but became more well known in the 1960s. Now it is a popular organization and students participate in the campaign annually in the DMV. 

Each group consists of a maximum of three leaders as well as students from different grades. There are also LLS staff contacts assigned to groups to help motivate and guide each team member.

“It’s scary worrying that I am not going to hit my goal or my teammates won’t hit theirs,” noted Lizzy Clarke, one of the leaders of PLS for LLS. 

The seven week period is not easy. While it does pay off in the end, students find that it can be time consuming. 

“It really takes a lot of time and effort, you have to be sure you are prepared to fully commit,” added Mitchell. 

Each team member has a minimum goal of raising $2,500, through events such as fundraisers at local restaurants, concerts, and bake sales. If they reach this goal, they get to attend a gala as a form of celebration for completing the campaign. 

Although the process is difficult, members think that they learn a lot as well.

“LLS allows students to learn through their own involvement,” Jenny Siler, a staff member at LLS noted. 

For students, the campaign gives them the opportunity to take on an unfamiliar challenge, while balancing school and extracurriculars. 

“I had to learn to be more engaging and vocal with my peers, as well as being a support system for them,” explained Mitchell. 

“Leading friends without being overbearing can be a challenge in the beginning, but after finding a good medium I learned how to guide my teammates and help when they needed,” Clarke agreed.

Both Mitchell and Clarke said they would recommend the campaign to other students. The experience is beneficial for them, learning about fundraising and leading, and students are also changing people’s lives that are affected by cancer. 

“It is a really good cause, and takes you out of your comfort zone,” explained Mitchell.

“It’s hard at times, but when you check to see how much you have raised you feel so much better,” added Clarke.