Volunteer Chronicles: Park Tudor Reads to Fight Cancer

David and Libby Symmes got the chance to receive the check from Holyn and her classmates in-person!

When Holyn Drook’s Park Tudor fourth grade class went on winter break, one parent volunteered to pay the class a dollar for each book they could read during the two weeks school was out. Holyn and her classmates worked hard and read a total of 93 books, resulting in 93 dollars for the class to spend however they wished. After encouragement from their teacher Chris Holobeck, the students decided to donate the money to charity. We are ecstatic that they chose The Caroline Symmes Cancer Endowment! Not only did these amazing students read 93 books in two weeks, they took time out of their school day to learn about various charities and what they could do to help.

How did the class pull it off? Students paired up, and each group gave a verbal presentation on a charity they thought deserved this hard-earned cash. Holyn went the extra mile and made a poster to help illustrate why our endowment should be the winner, and she was also the only student in the class who completed the research without a teammate. But, this wasn’t difficult for Holyn. She found herself motivated by the memory of Caroline. Although she’d never met her, Holyn heard Caroline’s story from her mom and dad, who know David and Libby Symmes. Holyn said, “When I think of suffering, I think of cancer.” After researching, Holyn was she was surprised to discover that just 4% of the federal budget for cancer research goes towards learning more about cancer in children. This fact sparked a passion for our cause that Holyn didn’t know she had. “This is a number that we can work together to raise,” she says.

Although Holyn was nervous about the competition, she managed to pull ahead by just one vote. “One group had four members,” she mentioned, taking care to point out that they could have automatically won based on their size. But, Holyn knew that Caroline’s story would have a similar effect on her classmates as it did on her. “Not enough people know what these children are facing,” she explains. Holyn knows her contribution isn’t just about the money. Now each of her classmates knows about the Caroline Symmes Cancer Endowment and that makes her happy.

Holyn’s empathy and passion help us keep moving forward in our mission to raise 8 million dollars for a research center at Riley Children’s Hospital. This goal is so important to us and we’re glad that people like Holyn take the time to understand why, and that young people are taking strides to address this issue individually. Great job to all the kids in the class and thank you for your time and effort to raise money for our research. Did you know that every dollar we receive funds a minute of research?

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