School coin drive to aid leukemia patients

Roseville students participate in Pennies for Patients
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Students at a Roseville school will spend the next three weeks scrounging together as many coins as possible.

They’ll be looking for pennies in between couch cushions, picking dimes off the car floor and hoarding quarters all to help local children. Sargeant Elementary School is participating in Pennies for Patients, an annual drive sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Through this national program, students have raised millions of dollars to go toward finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients.

Last year, 411 schools in the greater Sacramento region raised $430,000 to help cancer victims, said Dena Skiles, local campaign manager for Pennies for Patients. This year, 550 schools are registered to participate.

“Leukemia is the No. 1 cancer that affects children under 18 so we want to create awareness among students,” Skiles said.

Leukemia accounts for one in three cases of pediatric cancer. About 2,500 kids are diagnosed with this disease each year in the United States.

Sargeant Elementary School’s coin drive ends Jan. 27. They kicked off the drive with an assembly on Friday.

“We wanted to do this program because we want to help people in the hospitals and raise money for them,” said student council Vice President Tiffany Aiello.

Council Treasurer Sarah Wassom said kids are asked to add change to a small box they’re given and deposit those contents into a bigger box at school.

The Sacramento Rivercats partner with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Greater Sacramento Chapter to promote the coin drive.

“Our partners, Pennies for Patients, are people with character because the people they serve, students like you in the local community, have to overcome unbelievable challenges,” said Rivercats representative Tony Asaro, who spoke at Friday’s event.

During the assembly, special guest Christy Nguyen talked about her daughter, Kylie, who one day got sick. Blood tests showed she had leukemia. For the following 10 months, she was in and out of the hospital for chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“She wasn’t allowed to do anything a normal second grader could do,” Nguyen said.

Kylie is now 10 years old and attends Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Roseville. She is still undergoing treatment. Nguyen said money raised through Pennies for Programs will help improve treatment for cancer patients, including her daughter.

Sena Christian can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.


Pennies for Patients
Sargeant Elementary School’s coin drive
When: 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until Jan. 27
Where: Drop off donations in the front office, 1200 Ridgecrest Way in Roseville