Students aim to 'Smash Cancer' through fundraising efforts

Students give to St. Joseph's Foundation to support cancer care at St. Joseph's.(May 2016) -- Fifth-graders Paisen Alder, Erika Fink and Emma Wolfe may be young, but they’re old enough to know what it’s like to lose a family member to cancer. And, they’re passionate and energetic enough to do something about it.

After getting a green light from the principal last September, the threesome banded together and launched a school-wide “Smash Cancer” campaign at Self Development Academy in Mesa. The goal: to raise awareness about cancer while raising money to support care for patients undergoing treatment in the fight against it. 

They decorated and distributed “Fight Jars” in classrooms, inviting everyone on campus to give whatever they could. They sold “Smash Cancer” bracelets and hosted a donut party. And they encouraged everyone, every day of the school year, to help the cause.

This spring, they counted the money and decided to donate it all to cancer programs offered at The University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. In a school assembly attended by nearly 500 students and family members of the Smash Cancer founders, the girls thanked everyone for participating and presented a check in the amount of $1,413.75 to St. Joseph’s Foundation.

The story doesn’t completely end there, though. “We’re going to keep this going all the way through high school,” said Erika. “We’re going to raise even more money next year!”