Students and staff at Oxford Middle School (OMS) can relax this winter break knowing they made a positive difference in the world after they donated nearly $7,500 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Dec. 22.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a non-profit organization that specializes in researching and providing treatments for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
OMS students and staff collectively raised the funds during a “Penny Wars” event held over four days in early December.
A check was presented to Senior Regional Development Representative Nicole Laidlaw, a 2008 OHS graduate, on behalf of the organization at an assembly held before the students were dismissed for winter break.
“I feel so proud to be from Oxford,” Laidlaw said. “I love this community and it was just amazing to see this amount of support. The hospital would not be possible if it weren’t for fund-raisers like this one and every dollar really does count.”
According to Laidlaw, 80 cents of every dollar raised benefits children with life-threatening illnesses.
She added that the amount of money raised by OMS will cover the cost of vital health services for the children at St. Jude. It equates to the cost of four days of chemotherapy or 30 red blood cell transfusions or 15 hours of physical therapy for a patient.
Although this is the third year the school has participated in Giving Week, this is the first time OMS has donated to St. Jude.
In previous years, the school has raised nearly $6,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that supports and empowers injured military veterans and their families, and raised more than $6,000 to benefit a child through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In order to decide who to help, students voted between several non-profit organizations back in early November, explained OMS Assistant Principal Kristie Saterstad.
“The goal is for our children to really recognize a real-life situation that we can make an impact on and help with,” she said. “We talk about compassion and helping others and wanting to give back, so our goal is to identify a charity that our entire school can agree upon and to raise as much money as possible for them.”
“We appreciate the St. Jude’s partnership. They have been amazing with giving us different resources and we love having that connection,” Saterstad noted.
It was through the generosity of the community that Saterstad said OMS was able to raise such a substantial amount of money.
“We want to thank the community, too, because a lot of grandparents and aunts and uncles and moms and dads sent money in to support our efforts here.”