MHS juniors Isabel Prohaska and Kristen Stott were recognized as Students of the Year by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Each student raised more than $50,000 for LLS during a seven-week span. The students formed their own teams and did their own fundraising, MHS activities director Ben White said. They were honored at the LLS Student of the Year gala on Friday, March 6 at the Concourse Hotel in Madison. Nine candidate teams made up of 14 students participated in this year's Madison Student of the Year campaign, LLS campaign director Kim Lanzel said.
Stott, who raised 63,926, was nominated by a 2019 recipient. She decided to participate in the campaign because members of her extended family have had cancer. She also is connected to a 7-year-old in Madison who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
"He was the main inspiration for my campaign,'' said Stott, who also wants to become a doctor. "I also feel like if one type of cancer can be cured, hopefully, all of the other cures will follow.''
One of Stott's fundraisers involved organizing a volleyball tournament that had 22 teams participate. She said she did it to honor White, who is also the boys volleyball coach at MHS and was diagnosed with lymphoma last year.
"It was a lot to organize, but it was a great way to get a lot of donations bcause there were hundreds of people involved,'' said Stott, who also worked at UW athletic events in concessions and set up Culver's Share Nights locally. "It felt amazing to attend the ceremony. It was great to be surrounded by people who supported me.''
Prohaska raised $56,275. She was inspired to participate after her cousin Lily was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma Stage 4 last year.
"It was absolutely gut-wrenching,'' Prohaska said. "I promised her I would fight her battle with her, and do everything I could to raise awareness and make an impact on the community.''
Prohaska also wanted to support Noah Sanger, a 7-year-old boy who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and has endured more than 1,000 doses of chemo, and 20 spinal taps.
Among the events Prohaska held to raise funds included a competition involving Glacier Creek and Kromrey to see which school could raise the most funds, reaching out to Piggly Wiggly and SwimWest, and working concessions at UW events at the Kohl Center. She also held Share Nights at Culver’s and partnered with Kendra Scott to create a limited edition ‘Lily’ collection.
She was nominated by fellow MHS junior Ava Jambor, who was won of the award winners in 2019. "She has been my mentor, and support system this last year. I don’t think I could’ve pulled off what we did without her,'' Prohaska said.
Prohaska also received the Hero Award at the gala.
"I swear I cried the entire night,'' she said. "I have never felt so much love and seen so many people coming together. I met so many candidates who have now become my lifelong friends. We all won, we have the ability to say we came together, as high schoolers, to raise critical funds for cancer patients. I cannot wait to see what the candidates pull off next year.''
In all, the area students recognized raied more than $266,000 for blood cancer research. The campaign is in its second year in Madison, Lanzel said.
To learn more, please visit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website.