From left, Lake Shore High School juniors Amber Beaudry, Casey Sullivan and Claire Nicholl receive a $250 donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society from Roy O’Brien Ford, presented by new vehicle sales manager Dan Maison.

From left, Lake Shore High School juniors Amber Beaudry, Casey Sullivan and Claire Nicholl receive a $250 donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society from Roy O’Brien Ford, presented by new vehicle sales manager Dan Maison.

Photo provided by Casey Sullivan

St. Clair Shores teen raises money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 1, 2019


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Hoping to raise money for the fight against blood cancers, a local high school junior is competing against 26 others to be named Student of the Year by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Casey Sullivan, a junior at Lake Shore High School, and 11 other students have formed Team Carpe Diem to raise $15,000 for the Michigan chapter of the society, a nonprofit organization that invests in research, patient support, and policy and advocacy to benefit patients with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year competition is a philanthropic leadership development program for highly motivated high school students, according to Linda Kozianowski, campaign specialist at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Madison Heights.

“They embark on a journey that helps with their professional growth and ensures that they stand out when preparing for college and beyond,” she said, with entrepreneurship, marketing and project management skills.

The program begins in the fall, with interested students applying to be part of the program and then taking workshops with Family Training in Troy to get prepared for the campaign, which began Jan. 17 and runs through March 9.

Sullivan said she heard about the program through another organization, Junior Leadership Macomb.

She decided to commit to Student of the Year in the fall and has been planning for the fundraising event since then.

“I’ve tried to get team members that can help me with the campaign, and also doing, like, letters and getting email addresses,” she said.

“They run a fundraiser. Every dollar counts as one vote,” Kozianowski said. The student, or students, who raises the most money earns a $2,500 scholarship, and the other students compete for scholarships awarded based on volunteerism and how driven the students are to complete their mission.

The students run individually or as a group of up to three students, and are supported by a team of about 10 to 12 other students. This year, 17 teams, which include 26 students, are competing.

“They do the fundraising as a team. The minimum that we ask these candidates to raise is $10,000,” Kozianowski said. “The team members, they also learn the leadership development skills.”

At the end of the competition, there is a grand finale for candidates, team members, family and other supporters to celebrate and raise more money for the organization.

Sullivan said she’s also been planning events, like the school’s Charity Week, which would have raised money for the campaign, but had to be rescheduled because of snow days Jan. 28, 30 and 31.

While participating in the campaign, Sullivan said she has learned so much more about leukemia and how many children and adults it affects.

“When I learned about it ... I thought (the campaign) would be very beneficial,” she said.

Learning to run a successful fundraising campaign has not been easy, she said, but she’s learning valuable skills about teamwork and perseverance.

“A lot of people are really generous, and just getting out there and asking different businesses ... people are willing to help,” she said. “People have a lot of different connections that are helpful.”

Sullivan wants to be an orthodontist, and she said she’s learning valuable professional skills from the campaign.

One week into the fundraiser, Sullivan said that things were going very well.

“We made a lot more than I expected in the first week,” she said, including a $250 donation from Roy O’Brien Ford.

“This is a very unique opportunity for high school students,” Kozianowski said. “This is just a great way for them to expand what they’re already doing academically. It gets them out into the community. This is setting them up for life skills they will be using into college and well into the workforce.

“It’s definitely not for everybody, but just those ambitious individuals that are looking for something completely different and outside of school.”

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Check out this year’s participants at