The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Orange County Inland Empire Chapter announces local 2019 Students of the Year winners

Through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Orange County Inland Empire Chapter’s newest innovation in fundraising, Students of the Year, more than 21 motivated high school students raised significant funds for LLS’s cutting-edge cancer research and patient services. Blake Kelly, of Marina High School in Huntington Beach, Justin Emi of Marina High School in Huntington Beach and Christian Kelly, of Huntington Beach High School, raised the most funds across Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County, earning the winning title, “Students of the Year.” These fundraising superstars raised funds to support LLS’s goal to find cures for blood cancers and ensure that patients have access to lifesaving treatments. The winners were announced at the Grand Finale Celebration held at Fete the Venue on March 31, 2019.

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, the world’s largest nonprofit fighting blood cancer. 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.

“Congratulations to Blake, Justin, and Christian and all of our candidates, supporters and volunteers who helped to make Students of the Year a huge success,” said Deborah Levy, LLS’s Orange County Inland Empire Executive Director. “For these incredible 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. From The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s beginning 70 years ago with the development of new treatments for childhood leukemia to today’s advances in precision medicine and immunotherapy, LLS has led the way in changing the way we treat cancer and care for patients.”

2019 Students of the Year Highlights:

  • The Volunteerism Award is given to the candidate who best utilizes, encourages and cultivates the spirit of volunteerism through his or her campaign. This candidate has built a large team, consisting of kids and adults in both California and Washington. Their multiple events have brought together many different groups in the community, and inspired new people to join the fight against blood cancers. Congratulations. Lily Johnson – Team Beat 41 (Yorba Linda High School).
  • The Community Involvement Award is given to the candidate that best incorporates and inspires his or her community though this campaign. This team’s entire goal was inspire a thousand people to get involved and help fight blood cancer. We’re excited to announce that they have in fact inspired OVER a thousand people to donate to their campaign – this is the largest amount of donors that any of our teams have received. Congratulations Liliana Adzich and Jade Faircloth – Team Inspire a Thousand (Foothill High School).
  • The Mission Award is given to the candidate who shows exemplary commitment to the mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This candidate has a very close personal connection to blood cancer. In addition to sharing their own story, they have gone above and beyond to spread awareness about blood cancers and all cancers through social media, school, events, businesses, and even a podcast. You honored all of your heroes through the campaign, not just your dad. Congratulations Luke Hatfield – Team Hero (Newport Harbor High School).
  • This year we are excited to also present an additional award. The Innovation Award is given to a candidate who has gone above and beyond thinking outside of the box. This candidate was integral in developing a relationship with Subway to expand exposure in the community, with the support of their customers in the fight against blood cancers. Congratulations Jennifer Oz – Team Wishful Workers (Orange County School of the Arts).
  • Acknowledgement of a very special team member who has shown their devotion to the mission of LLS. This individual has raised the most fundraising dollars in the past 7 weeks, as a team member and has made a significant impact. Please join me in celebrating our 2019 Team Member of the Year – Rachel Spataro of Team Hero (Newport Harbor High School).
  • $50K Research Portfolio Linking Opportunity
    • Team Beat 41 – Lily Johnson (Yorba Linda High School)
    • Team Hero – Luke Hatfield (Newport Harbor High School)
    • Team Cancer is Wack – Blake Kelly, Justin Emi, and Christian Kelly (Marina High School and Huntington Beach High School)
  • Winners: Team Cancer is Wack – Blake Kelly & Justin Emi (of Marina High School), and Christian Kelly (of Huntington Beach High School)
  • Grand Total: $351, 506

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

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

This article was released by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.