Niagara Gazette — $2,439.
It doesn't seem like a lot of money in today's corporate-driven world, but it's a number near and dear to the hearts of Lewiston-Porter Middle School. In conjunction with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the school's students, staff and community supporters raised that figure in just a few weeks time in January, through the Pennies for Patients campaign.
They had a little motivation, though. A beloved member of the community, 18-year-old Tyler Midgley, just recently learned he had leukemia and served as the building's honored hero for the campaign. He was at the school last week when organizers revealed the total donation to the student body live on the school's announcements.
"I saw the figure and I was speechless," Midgley said. "It was just like 'Whoa, wow.'"
The money, which will be donated to the Western New York Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, will help fund four research projects and ease the suffering of countless patients throughout the area.
Midgley's popularity in the Lew-Port community is longstanding, but partially stems from his involvement in The Brass Monkeez, where he served as drummer for the wildly popular music group throughout his high school career. But the band members have gone their separate ways, as Midgley graduated in June and headed to Potsdam University this past summer. It was there that his life changed in the blink of an eye.
He said he noticed a rash developing on his hands and it quickly spread all over his body when he returned to Lewiston for a surprise party for his mother. The family advised him to go to the school's health office when he returned, which did some preliminary blood work. A few days later, they gave him a referral to Syracuse's Upstate Hospital where he learned his prognosis.