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Paige Vergenes raises $33,219 and wins Student of
the Year Award
Sophomore Paige Vergenes earned the Student of the Year Award after raising the most money with $33,219 in just seven weeks for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The society’s main goal is to fundraise for those who are suffering from blood cancer and raised a total of $152,745 this year. They then distribute the money to go between research and the families. Not only was Vergenes one of the youngest candidates, but she will also receive a scholarship and speak at the upcoming Pittsburgh Man and Woman of the Year Banquet.
She participated in the program in honor of her friends and family who have been diagnosed with cancer. Her Great Aunt Sandy was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer and passed away July 7, 2018. Also, her sister’s friend is currently battling brain cancer.
Vergenes signed up for the program in October 2018, but was not allowed to receive any money until January 19, the official start date of the fundraiser. Until then, she spent her time networking with companies to receive their donations once she was able. This involved sending out 200 letters to family and friends, 100 emails, posting on social media, and sending additional emails to her father’s workplace. Further, she met with people from different companies to talk about how much they could contribute. Her parents were a huge help in this aspect because they had the contacts she needed and did not yet have as a student.
Even though Vergenes was disappointed at times, sometimes being promised a larger donation than she received, she still raised $13,000 more than her goal.
“I was proud of what I did, but I knew there was no chance I was going to win. I felt that someone else had to have raised or done more. When they announced my name, I was in shock.”
Vergenes wants to pursue the medical field in college and has an interest in oncology.
Because of this award, Vergenes will have the opportunity to shadow Leroy Ball, the CEO of Koppers as well as other oncologists. She will also be recognized at the Man and Woman of the Year Banquet, receive an award at the Holiday Luncheon for the LLS, and attend the PROM event, which is where children with blood cancer get to dress up and celebrate for a night.
“To hear people’s stories impacted me even if I just go into the medical field and don’t treat cancer patients. Hearing the people that struggled with cancer made me want to help them even more and made my plan even more solid.”