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by the numbers

River Ridge Middle raises $894 for cancer hospital

NEW PORT RICHEY — Dimitri Perez gave up some of his birthday money.

Madison Biondo, Rebecca Young and Angelique Cadavid-Perez scrounged around their homes, searching under sofa cushions and in the laundry room where loose coins can often be found.

Right on the spot, Julia Roussos, Jeff Smith and Justin Petralia handed over leftover allowance money they each had.

Others such as Safaray Miller, Jessica Dunphy, Ashlee Cichon and Jordan and Quenton Snead went home and hit their families up.

Christian Wyland's family had no problem pitching in. And to offer some inspiration to his classmates, Christian's mother, Lynn, came to school to share the story of Christian's own struggle with childhood leukemia all those years ago, and how treatments sent all the way from St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis helped to save his life.

In a mere seven days, the kids in Tara Foote's language arts classes at River Ridge Middle School raised $894, which they donated to radio station WQYK-FM 99.5 for the Country Cares for the St. Jude Kids fundraising drive.

"It really was amazing — especially for kids who are just 11 and 12 years old," said Foote, who was moved to launch the impromptu school fundraising drive after hearing the children's stories about dealing with cancer on the radio on her way to work.

"I donate each month (to St. Jude's)," Foote said. "But I'm only one person. Then I thought, 'No, I'm one person with 110 students and their families.' "

To inspire her students, Foote took out her laptop computer and showed all her classes Rascal Flatts' music video Skin about a girl named Sarabeth, who is dealing with the recent diagnosis of cancer and the effects of chemotherapy.

"The first day I had $25 before the kids left," Foote said.

"It was kind of touching," said Julia Roussos, 11, who was one of the first to pony up. "I thought, 'Kids are going through this and they really need some help.' I just felt that I could help someone in need."

"It was wonderful," said Dimitri Perez, 12. "Even at our age we can do something."

$1,267,349 Average daily operating cost of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, mostly covered by contributions.

4,900 Number of patients seen each year, mostly on an outpatient basis.

0 Number of patients turned away because they couldn't afford treatment.

Source: St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital

By the numbers

1,267,349 — Average daily operating cost, in dollars, of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, mostly covered by contributions.

4,900 — Number of patients seen each year, mostly on an out-patient basis.

0 — Number of patients turned away because they couldn't afford treatment.

Source: St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital

River Ridge Middle raises $894 for cancer hospital 03/25/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 9:39am]
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