PCHS students raise $35,000 for cancer research
Two Park City High School students were given seven weeks to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. One concert, one art show and several phone calls later, the duo rounded up $35,000, earning them a second-place finish in the society’s Utah Student of the Year campaign.
Park City juniors Mia Rapella and Faith Froehlich were recognized for their efforts at an award ceremony for the competition on April 27. High school students around the state organized fundraising events in an effort to raise the most money and be named the Student of the Year. Rapella and Froehlich finished in second place.
It was Froehlich’s second time participating in the fundraising campaign. She raised about $46,000 in 2018 and also placed second.
Froehlich has participated in fundraising events for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for as long as she can remember. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was about 2 years old. After two and a half years of treatment, she was clear of cancer.
Since that time, she and her family members have organized fundraising events to give back to the society, which supports research and education and helps patients have access to affordable treatments. She has helped raise more than $400,000.
Froehlich for the first time in her life headed a fundraising campaign rather than letting her parents take the lead. Seven of her friends helped her organize events and raise money, and one of them was Rapella.
Rapella said she enjoyed raising money for cancer research. She was interested in expanding her role, so she asked Froehlich if she could participate as a co-candidate.
“After hearing so many stories about how cancer has affected so many people, and even people my age or younger, it was crazy. I really understood how important this cause is,” Rapella said.
Rapella and Froehlich began planning for the fundraising campaign last September. They gathered a team of 14 friends to participate in the competition, and they began to book venues for the events.
The campaign itself took place from March 5 to April 27. Students from the high school and Ecker Hill Middle School donated artwork for an art show, and Rapella and Froehlich auctioned off the pieces. They booked bands to perform for a benefit concert and widely marketed the fundraising event.
As Froehlich started tallying up the money, she realized that her team would not raise as much as it did last year. She said she and Rapella arrived at the final ceremony happy about what they were able to raise, but not expecting any special recognition.
It came as a shock to both when they were announced as the second-place winners.
Rapella said she was proud of the work she, Froehlich and the rest of the team did. The team spent numerous hours organizing events and campaigning. When motivation was low, the team would think about the kids their money would help. Rapella said she was happy to put her time into something that made a direct impact on other people’s lives.
“It’s so fulfilling to think I am making such a difference in the world. It’s something so much bigger than just going to school,” Rapella said.
All the students who participated in the Student of the Year campaign raised more than $195,000. Rapella and Froehlich were glad to have done their part.
“Seeing little kids who benefit from this, kids who didn’t have a chance before, and knowing my money goes directly into that is an indescribable feeling,” Froehlich said. “I had a lucky outcome, and I want to give every single kid the chance to have the exact same outcome.”
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A district spokesperson said six students were removed from an area in the school as police conducted a search.