August 23, 2017

Students Raise 5,526 Dollars for Pennies for Patients

By Pam Laughin

Patricia Bruschi, school nurse at Eisenhower School in Bridgewater, has been instrumental in organizing students raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through an in-school fundraising event called “Pennies for Patients.”   Eisenhower students collected spare change to help raise funds for cancer research and services for patients.  This is the sixth year that Bruschi has helped with this important event and this year the school raised a whopping, $5,526.00.  Bruschi is proud to point out, “Our goal was to raise four thousand dollars and the kids collected way over that.  I am very proud they could collect this much.”

This fundraising event is very near and dear to Bruschi’s heart.  She shares, “I am motivated to volunteer for both personal and professional reasons.  I find that fighting cancer in any way possible is rewarding since I lost my husband to cancer after a six year battle against the disease. And each year since I started, the fundraising amounts have increased.  We now have tripled what we raised six years ago.”

Each class is appointed two representatives, called Bucketeers.  Bucketeers are responsible for disseminating information to their classes, getting the money into the buckets, counting it and keeping a tally.  The children are encouraged to raise money by emptying their coin jars, checking in pockets, and looking under couch cushions.  The class that raises the most money by pooling coins is rewarded with a pizza party and the second place winner receives an ice cream party.  This year’s first place winner goes to Mrs. Ronning’s class (raised $1143.04) and second place goes to Miss De Sesso’s class (raised $564.53).  Bruschi says, “The kids were quick to point out that they really don’t care about winning prizes, but just really want to help kids. That’s really what it’s all about.”

Bruschi explains, “This is a ‘kids helping kids’ project and is part of our character education and caring pillar.  It helps raise awareness and is a way for children to reach out to their own peer group.” By pooling coins, Eisenhower School will help local patients fight the most fatal disease affecting children under the age of 15.  With an estimated 957,902 people in the U.S. currently living with or are in remission from leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, or myeloma, Bruschi explains, “This project teaches children to be volunteers while helping other children. Knowing that the funds will be put to good use through research and personal funding of families to help with their extra expenses while under treatment is very rewarding.”

Each year, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society thank Bruschi with a personally designed t-shirt from the winner of the Save a Life Today art contest.  This year’s shirt was designed by Steven Murphy, an honoree patient, with his own interpretation of cancer put behind bars.  Bruschi is honored to wear it and says, “Volunteering is a privilege, not a chore. Think of the others that you are helping and that will motivate you to volunteer and to do your best.”

If you are thinking of volunteering or want to find out more information, visit the School and Youth Programs website at, www.

Caption for picture from left to right –  Bucketeers : Ariel Staffin, Emma Wurmstich, Gabrielle Bowlby, and Hannah Inglez

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