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Students complete fundraiser for leukemia, lymphoma

Unicoi Elementary School wrapped up its Pasta for Pennies program on Tuesday, Nov. 25, with a ceremony and a visit from Ebony, the miniature horse from HOOF Prints for HOPE.
The elementary school students spent the last several weeks gathering change that would be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
HOOF Prints for HOPE is an organization started by Megan Vess and her mother, Amber Vess. Megan was diagnosed with Leukemia in August 2012. During her treatment at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Megan was visited by a miniature horse. The visit inspired Megan to create her own organization.
“Megan came to me and asked if we could get a pony and do an organization and help other kids with cancer,” said Vess. “We got Ebony in September … she’s five years old and we go visit kids in the hospital to help ease their treatment.”
In addition to raising the money, the students spent time learning about leukemia and what the disease entails so that they would know a bit about what their donations were going to support.
“They had a little program to show how it attacks your blood and how it makes you sick,” said teacher Sarah Tester. “The kids were just told to bring in change and we had a competition between the classes to see who could bring in the most and the winning class got a lunch from Olive Garden.”
At the conclusion of the Nov. 25 ceremony, the winning class got the opportunity to get their picture taken with Amber, Megan and Ebony.
“It’s inspiring to see kids enjoy her because that’s the goal,” said Vess. “Just to put a smile on a kid’s face.”
The fundraiser conducted by the Unicoi Elementary School students was a success that well surpassed its goal. According to school officials, $300 in cash was raised along with $1,174.23 in coins. The grand total amount raised was $1,474.23.