By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — A junior at Hewitt-Trussville High School is working to make a difference by participating in a fundraising competition to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Hannah O’Kelley was nominated by the LLS board to participate in the Students of the Year program. She said the cause is dear to her heart because of her own personal experiences.
“It’s important to be because I’ve been directly impacted by the effects of cancer with my dad passing away when I was in fifth grade,” said O’Kelley.
O’Kelley’s father, Kevin O’Kelley, died in 2015 from kidney cancer. Since then, she has felt the need to strive to make a difference.
“Curing any kind of cancer is amazing but to hear that the research that goes into treating leukemia and lymphoma helps treatment and research for other cancers is what sold me on this,” she said.
The program started on Thursday, April 29, the anniversary of her father’s memorial service. The fundraiser will continue for seven weeks.
The money raised from O’Kelley’s campaign will be in honor of a young cancer patient who is currently in remission from a blood cancer. Each dollar donated counts as a vote and donations are tax-deductible.
“Our mission is to not only raise the most money but also to bring attention to blood cancers like leukemia, which is the most common form of cancer in children and teens,” said O’Kelley.
The candidate team that raises the most money will be named Student of the Year.
O’Kelley hopes to garner support for the cause to make her father proud. She said she has been able to maintain good grades in advanced and AP classes while playing soccer. She also participates in the school’s Service Association.
Donations will support LLS-funded research and help provide critical information and support for patients. Donations will be accepted through June 17.
You can learn more about Hannah’s campaign and help the cause at https://events.lls.org/al/bhamsoy21/hokelley.
O’Kelley will also be on Tribune Unscripted on Monday, May 17, to talk about the program.