LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2018) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) recently hosted their seventh annual “Meet the Researchers Day.” Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS’s Pennies for Patients campaign.
This year, Wesley Christian School, Shelby County West Middle School, and Floyd Central High School in Floyds Knobs, Ind., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK’s campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.
“I think having the students see the campus and see the research facilities is important and how they tie into the cancer research because we are obviously trying to find a cure for cancer, so for them to see where dollars are being spent in terms of funding research is exciting,” said Helen Overfield, executive director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
After a formal introduction by UK researchers Tianyan Gao and Craig Vander Koo, the students received a tour showing different cancer research labs in the BBSRB and learned how to use some basic lab equipment. The event also featured remarks from LLS Honored Hero Brad Wilson, a UK chemical engineering student and two-time leukemia survivor, UK student researchers Trevor Farmer and Michael Gosky, UK HealthCare researcher and oncologist Dr. John D’Orazio, and co-founder of the Cancer Training in Oncology Program Dr. Nathan Vanderford.
“Students were excited to get to visit and tour campus, excited to see the facilities, especially in a biological type research lab like we were in this morning,” said Rod Goforth, biology teacher at Floyd Central High School.
Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the Student Series of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The fundraiser encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma research; patients and community service; public health education; and professional education.
For this year’s campaign, the program reached 510 schools throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. The winning schools were chosen in a random drawing, raising a combined $5,524 for LLS.