Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School helps kick cancer to the curb and support pediatric research

June 16, 2012  |  Posted by Ingrid Schaefer Sprague

Celebrating their third annual fundraising campaign for Kick-It, Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School students, local pediatric cancer patients and their families gathered Friday at Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland to play kickball games to recognize their fundraising achievement.

The nonprofit organization Kick-It, which was founded by Cleveland pediatric cancer patient Quinn Clark, provides funding for pediatric cancer research.

At the school’s own field day assembly June 7, the Kick-It game organizer — middle school physical education teacher Maria Ganim Schneider — told the students they had raised a record amount of $25,714. The funds were raised through various activities, including two car washes, a Pirates and Princess youth party, T-shirt and raffle ticket sales, and online web donations.

This year the local Brecksville-Broadview Heights Kick-It children included Abby Mandalla, 12; Brent Ramer, 12; Lauren Berish, 13; Lauren Ramer, 10; and Jesse Reed, 7.

Special education teacher Kimberly Taylor provided a highlight of the assembly when she had her hair shorn in honor of one of her students, Lauren Berish. A former student, Danielle Kossman from New Heights in Hair, provided the haircut.

The students enjoyed the raffle of items including headphones, gift cards, a charcoal grill, duct tape, and Bees basketball camp memberships (one for boys and one for girls), which raised $1,800. Schneider said all of the items were purchased or donated by staff members.

Quinn Clark’s mother, BBHHS graduate Allison Glovna Clark, spoke to the assembly, saying that the students were an example to other schools. She also spoke about the national growth of the organization with the support of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

Schneider said other Kick-It funds were raised independently by BBHMS students and families. “We had an adult fundraiser at Jocko’s that raised around $1,800,” she said. “We had the most sponsorships ever.”

Students had lemonade stands and donated babysitting money, Schneider said. “Two girls made key chains and bracelets that raised $204.”

Additionally, there was a dunk tank and “Kuttin it for Kick It,” where hair was cut and donated to make wigs for young patients.

“We had over 60 kids either shave (their heads) or donate their hair to Locks of Love,” Schneider said. “We told them they did not need to see pledges, that doing this is an act of service alone; however, they donated over $1,100 from this.

“Alex Ramer, brother of Brent and Lauren, challenged his family and friends to donate and he would send them a lock of his hair. He raised $500 alone.”

Schneider was awestruck by the empathy and participation of the BBHMS students. “What can I say but wow!” she exclaimed. “These students continue to inspire me by what they are willing to do for an amazing cause. They have learned advocacy, empathy and service — lessons that reach outside the typical classroom lessons.

“If our staff affected even one student to go out and advocate for what they believe in and/or to give their time to help others in need, then we reached our goal. Yes, we have the monetary goal to reach, but more important than ever is the memory they will take with them about how they may have helped cure pediatric cancer.”

At the opening kickoff assembly one month ago, BBHMS Patrick Farrell was “arrested” by Brecksville police officer Bill Goodrich and in his court appearance was sentenced to spend one hour in jail for every $2,500 raised as of June 1. Farrell spent June 4 in “jail” in the BBHMS cafeteria for eight hours, after being locked up by Broadview Heights DARE officer Jose Garcia. Broadview Heights Mayor Sam Alai provided the jail.

Schneider offered her thanks to those who supported her efforts for Kick-It. “I would also like to thank my Kick-It committee and administrators for their support throughout the entire school year as we helped prepare for our month-long Kick It campaign,” she said.

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