HJ/EDJune 5, 2006

Lester Prairie students raise money for St. Jude's Hospital

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

It began with just a normal teenage pastime – listening to music on the radio. Then, it turned into something very heartwarming and generous.

Ashley Maesse, Lester Prairie seventh grader, likes to listen to the K102 radio station.

It was during a radiothon that K102 aired in March for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, that Maesse felt moved by the stories presented about the children that have received medical care from the hospital. Some children had been cured, others were not so lucky.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital treats rare catastrophic diseases and advertises that no one pays for treatment beyond what is covered by insurance, and those without insurance are never asked to pay.

St. Jude’s was the first pediatric institution to place doctors, scientists, and patients “all under one roof,” thus creating a worldwide model for “bench-to-bedside” research and treatment of cancers and other life-threatening diseases in children.

While listening to the stories, “it dawned on me, these kids could be helped by other kids who care,” explained Maesse. And that is just what she set out to do.

Maesse enlisted the help of her friend, Amber Zubrod, Lester Prairie seventh grader, and together they spoke with the school superintendent and principal, who felt that they should take their idea to the student council.

That was when Hannah Wortz, Lester Prairie senior and a member of the student council, first heard about the idea of raising money to help St. Jude’s Hospital. The student council brainstormed and came up with a few ways to help bring in money.

A class competition between the students in seventh through 12th grades began March 6 to see which of the classes would bring in the most money.

Baskets were placed in the office and students would put their change into their class basket. A tally was done on a daily basis and students were informed in their daily bulletin what the dollar status was.

In this contest, the seventh graders won bringing in a total of $150.

Wortz worked on an auction idea that 42 juniors and seniors participated in. Each of the students auctioned off their services for one school day.

She figured that the students might be willing to donate $5 to have someone carry their books around the school or help organize class work. The highest bid was $20, which Wortz said was a lot more than she had expected.

The fundraising came to an end March 17, a total of 10 school days. From the class competition and the auction, a grand total of $770.57 was raised by the student body.

Yvonne Meyerson, associate director of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital came to Lester Prairie School May 24 and was presented a check on behalf of the Lester Prairie student body at an assembly in the school gym.

Gallas and Meyerson were also presented Bulldog T-shirts donated by the Lester Prairie Boosters Club.

Mary Gallas, programming assistant at K102, Clear Channel Radio, said it was the first time she had ever heard of a school make a contribution like this because of the K102 radiothon.

Meyerson accepted the check with gratitude for the generosity of the students and all of their efforts in collecting the donations.

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