LEONARDTOWN, Md. — Every nine minutes, somebody in the U.S. dies of a blood cancer. And, in today’s times of uncertainty, cancer patients need support now, more than ever. Through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Maryland Chapter’s innovative fundraising campaign, Students of the Year, more than 23 motivated high school candidates and over 150 team members raised significant funds through personal asks and virtual fundraising events for LLS’s cutting-edge cancer research and patient services. Manasa Iswara and Hemani Kumar, both 15, of Leonardtown High School in Leonardtown, MD, raised the most funds across the Maryland Region and earned the winning title, “Students of the Year.” These fundraising superstars raised funds to support LLS’s goal of finding cures for blood cancers and ensuring that patients have access to lifesaving treatments.

Students of the Year is a seven-week philanthropic leadership development program during which students foster professional skills such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and project management in order to raise funds for LLS, a global leader in the fight against cancer. This year’s campaign was executed through virtual fundraising events only. The title Student(s) of the Year is awarded to the candidate or co-candidates in each community who raises the most funds during the competition. Top local fundraisers become eligible to win the national title. The students raise money in honor of a local patient hero who is currently battling or is in remission from a blood cancer.

When Iswara and Kumar learned they were named the local Students of the Year they were thrilled, “We’re honored to be named the Maryland’s Chapter’s local Students of the Year! We want to shout out all 15 of our team members because we could not have done this without all of you…we love every single one of you.” They also thanked their parents, mentor, the other 14 candidate teams and Maryland’s Students of the Year Campaign Development Director, Corinne Mayers.

Mayers shared that Manasa and Hemani ran an incredible fundraising campaign that involved reaching out to businesses for sponsorship, small community events, lots of personal asks and a lot of involvement from their hard working team members.
“Congratulations to Manasa and Hemani and all our candidates, supporters and volunteers who helped to make Students of the Year a huge success, Despite fundraising in a virtual world, they never lost hope,” said Ria Freydberg, LLS’s MidAtlantic Executive Director, They remained committed to the over 1.3 million people living with or in remission from a blood cancer, many of whom are children. For these individuals, it’s not just about winning a title; it’s all about the impact they are making in their communities and the generations ahead of them.”

To learn more about LLS’s Students of the Year program and how it might work for you or someone you know, visit: www.studentseries.org.