Bishop is one small town that did more than its fair share toward making a big contribution to a national cure-for-cancer funding organization. Taking a multi-pronged approach, local schools raised thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this past March.
Starting March 7 with a blood drive and bone marrow registry and ending on March 23 with the Shine on the Sierra luminary walk, a series of fundraising efforts netted a total of $9,536.
The bulk of that went to LLS; the local Eastern Sierra Breast Cancer Alliance received $1,287 that was specifically earmarked by community members at the luminary walk, said Home Street Middle School Secretary/Administrative Assistant Kristin Carr.
Carr and School Counselor Vicka Stout led the Pennies for Patients drive at the middle school.
Although Bishop Elementary School and Bishop Union High School also participated in the fundraiser, Home Street Middle School “ranked number five out of 375 schools” in California for amount of funds raised for LLS, said Carr The Colts single-handedly raised $4,026, which was nearly half of the total LLS donation from Bishop.
“All the schools did an amazing job of raising money,” said Carr. The $8,249 from all three schools “was a big contribution to the total of $484,000 raised in the Central California Region,” Carr explained.
How did Home Street Middle School manage to rank fifth in Central California? That’s what LLS Pennies for Patients Central California Chapter Campaign Manager Allison Torres asked in her congratulatory letter to Home Street Middle School. “Because of your success, I would like to meet with you to discuss what made your school thrive. I would love to share your ideas with other schools to motivate them.”
Aside from the traditional door-to-door donation requests, some of those successful fundraising strategies included: for $1 students could buy the right to wear their hat in class for a day and, also for $1, anyone could buy a big paper penny to be displayed with their name on it.
Awareness-heightening activities enhanced the donations pot, said Carr. Home Street Middle School’s “media class broadcast something live on morning announcements” throughout March, running LLS-provided video clips about LLS patients and their families, said Carr. “It was also very helpful to pick a school hero,” in this case, her great-nephew Ryker Carr, a leukemia patient, so people could put a face on the cause, she explained.
In addition, BUHS School Counselor Kathleen Stout, the BUHS Pennies of Patients organizer said, “We got 108 pints of blood and (collected) 57 bone marrow kits.” Stout said she hopes community response will be “bigger and better” when BUHS does two more public blood drives, one on Monday, Oct. 1.
Stout said she is especially passionate about this fundraiser because she has leukemia. Many other locals are grateful fundraiser’s bountiful yield, too, said Stout, pointing out that, at the middle school alone, one in four staff members have (or have had) family members with cancer.
Assistant Principal Heather Carr and Counselor Jean Sprague led the Pennies for Patients fundraiser at Bishop Elementary School.
“I hope that the community, not just the schools, compete next year,” said Stout, inviting The Inyo Register, Looney Bean and the rest of the local business community to vie for a chance to be announced fundraiser winners at the 2013 Shine on Sierra luminary walk.
On a parting note, Kristin Carr addressed the public, saying, “We look forward to your support and participation again in 2013. Remember, ‘we like the stuff that jingles but we love the stuff that folds.’ See you next March.”
For those who might like to contribute at any time before next March, go to www.LLS.org  or contact ESBCA at (760) 872-3811 or 174 Iris St., Bishop, CA 93514 for more information.