Each year, in communities across the country, exemplary and passionate students engage in a spirited fundraising competition to raise critical funds for blood cancer research for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) through the Students of the Year campaign. LLS Georgia is honored to announce these individuals who will compete for scholarships and to earn the Student of the Year title.

The candidates are high school students who are philanthropic, ambitious,resourceful and passionate about making a difference in the lives of people suffering from blood cancers. Their relentless ambition drives them to fundraise with remarkable results. This year’s Students of the Year candidate class includes 73 high school students–six are from East Cobb County–who are active in their community and aim to raise over $1,500,000 in seven weeks to fight blood cancer.

“The Students of the Year campaign is a great way for students to develop leadership skills within a philanthropy program that ensures they stand out among their peers and make an impact in their communities,” said Nychelle Williams, Campaign Director for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Georgia Chapter. “Candidates showcase their fundraising and community engagement skills while providing assistance and hope to blood cancer patients.”

The Students of the Year seven week campaign kicked off on January 31 and the scholarship winners will be announced at the Grand Finale Gala at The Georgia Aquarium on March 23, 2019.

The following East Cobb County candidates have teamed up (see below) to raise funds:

►Rebekah Andress, sophomore, Lassiter High School and Katie Valley, sophomore, Walton High School

Rebekah Andress – 10th Grade – Lassiter High School
Rebekah is a sophomore at Lassiter High School. She became involved with Students of the Year in honor of her friend’s mother who is currently battling cancer. Rebekah is passionate about finding a cure and helping cancer patients and their families.

Katie Valley – 10th Grade – Walton High School
Katie is a sophomore at Walton High School. Katie’s interest in the campaign is very personal, her mother was recently diagnosed with a cancer re-occurrence. “Cancer has personally affected my family and friends. I am honored and excited to be able to fight to find a cure for cancer. My mom is currently battling melanoma. The immunotherapy that she is taking was developed through research funded by LLS, so helping raise money for more research is very important to me because it has helped her.”

Maddie Atkins, sophomore, Johnson Ferry Christian Academy & Liza Gaster, sophomore, Pope High School

Maddie Atkins – 10th Grade – Johnson Ferry Christian Academy
Maddie is a sophomore at Johnson Ferry Christian Academy. One of her close, personal friend’s sister was diagnosed with leukemia in 10th grade. “Seeing what her family went through and how strong they were, really inspired me. I said if I’m given the opportunity to help someone fight a horrible battle like this, I will.”

Liza Gaster – 10th Grade – Pope High School
Liza is a sophomore at Pope High School. “After our friend’s sister fought a battle with leukemia for a year and a half, finding a cure for childhood cancer became really important to me.” She watched her fight and the toll it took on her family and feels honored to help LLS raise money and help find a cure!

Avnee Sarnaik, Junior, Wheeler High School & Sophia Kudratov, Junior, Wheeler High School

Sophia Kudrato – 11th Grade – Wheeler High School
Sophia is a sophomore at Wheeler High School. Sophia’s watched her aunt fight to survive breast cancer. Sophia says she never wants other families to have this awful experience and that motivated her to participate in the program. “For this campaign, I would like to give people fighting this long, hard battle the support to live their best lives.”

Avnee Sarnaik – 11th Grade – Wheeler High School
Avnee is a junior at Wheeler High School. Avnee is inspired by the mission of LLS. Fortunately, Avnee has not been personally touched by cancer but she wants to take a stand to change the lives of cancer patients for the better.“ Through this campaign, I love to volunteer and now have the opportunity to make people happy and I can’t stand by and not do anything about it.”

To learn more about Students of the Year, please visit events.lls.org/ga/AtlantaSOY19.

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 and provides free information and support services. The Georgia Chapter serves patients with a variety of programs including the Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection Program, the Georgia Blood Cancer Conference, and the LLS Co-Pay Assistance Program.