Sky Raises its Voice to Battle Leukemia Through Pennies For Patients Program

The Sky has joined forces with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Illinois Chapter in support of its “Pennies for Patients” school program. The program encourages pre-K – 12th grade students to collect pennies for patients battling leukemia and other blood cancers, illnesses that take the life of one American every ten minutes.

The Sky joins LLS to inspire students at more than 400 schools to raise $415,000 in 2008, a substantial increase over the $375,000 students collected in 2007. Each school is encouraged to raise approximately $1,000 during their individual three-week campaign, which will fund a year’s worth of patient aid for two patients, including expenses for important medications and transportation to medical appointments.

Each school will collect as many coins as possible during a three-week period in January, February, or March. The Sky will reward the top fundraising class in the top five fundraising schools with tickets to the Sky’s 2008 season home opener on May 22 at 7:00pm at UIC Pavilion. Two students from each of the five classes will participate in the pre-game ball exchange with Sky players. The LLS Illinois Chapter will announce the top five fundraising schools and their top classes on May 13.

Sky center Chas Melvin tipped-off the “Pennies for Patients” program at Chicago’s William F. Finkl Academy on Tuesday, January 22. With the help of Sky mascot, Sky Guy, Melvin inspired 600+ students at an assembly to collect pennies and exceed the schools’ $1000 goal.

“It’s inspiring that these students are choosing to save their pennies to help save the lives of people they’ve never met, instead of all the other things they can spend money on,” said Melvin. “They’ve got it figured out: when it comes to saving a life, every penny counts.”

“The Sky’s partnership with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is based on shared values: to teach passion, build character and save lives,” said Chicago Sky CEO Margaret Stender. “We are pleased to join the fight against blood cancers, and to honor students willing to commit to saving lives, one penny at a time.”

“Participating in Pennies for Patients is meaningful for children because leukemia is a disease that impacts children, and this program is really a way for kids to help kids,” said Nancy McInroy, Executive Director of the Society’s Illinois chapter. “The children who participate in the Society’s School & Youth Programs learn that their efforts really make a difference. We are so proud of these students’ efforts and pleased that the Chicago Sky supports and recognizes their hard work.”

Sky coaches and players will also be collecting pennies throughout training camp, after practices, and at team shoot-arounds. Sky staff will collect pennies at the Sky office and place collection boxes at UIC Pavilion and the team’s practice facility. Sky fans are invited to participate with the team in the collection process and bring their pennies to home games at the UIC Pavilion.

In working with LLS, the Sky hopes to educate young people about blood related cancers. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20. In the U.S., 218,659 people are living with or in remission from leukemia.

Since its founding in 1949, the LLS has invested more than $550 million in leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research. LLS-funded research has led to key advances in understanding blood cancers and has produced new treatments to enhance and prolong lives. Innovations in cancer treatment over the years have included radiation and chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation and new targeted therapies that kill cancer cells without harming normal ones. Through “Pennies for Patients” and other LLS school and youth programs, the Society aims to teach students the importance of helping others.

Click here to help make a difference.