5th Annual District-wide program raises vital funds for local breast cancer services and research as well as promotes life-saving awareness among teachers, parents and families.
For the fifth consecutive year, Susan G. Komen Philadelphia has teamed up with the Philadelphia School District for “Dollar Defense,” a unique breast cancer awareness, education, and fundraising project that embraces students, faculty and parents of the District. This year’s program raised $13,646(as of 11/24/15) to empower the work of Komen Philadelphia, a recognized leader in the local breast cancer movement. The 2015 “Dollar Defense” brings the program’s five-year fundraising total to approximately $103,013.
“The fact that we’re now celebrating the 5th year of “Dollar Defense” is a testament to the importance of giving younger generations a role to play in fighting breast cancer,” said Elaine I Grobman, Chief Executive Officer, Komen Philadelphia. “Year after year, the energy exhibited by students, staff and parents for this program grows more and more. Not only is this incredibly inspiring… it is ‘proof positive,’ that what we are doing is making a difference to the families in our community.
“What we are doing is helping families fight breast cancer together. Together they are sharing the hope. Together they are gaining confidence that one day we will have a world in which every person diagnosed with breast cancer is assured to survive it. That type of hope and confidence is a vital part of nurturing these young lives because it focuses them on positive, happy futures.”
Through “Dollar Defense” Komen Philadelphia and the District are helping children, as well as parents, focus on the progress and positive change happening in the breast cancer movement, such as over 3 million survivors in this country, advances in treatment and growth in survival rates. Also key to the outreach is helping students and parents feel hopeful instead of helpless.
“Some may think these children are too young to understand what they are doing through ‘Dollar Defense;’ some think we need to ‘shelter’ them from the ugliness of breast cancer. These ideas couldn’t be further from the truth. The children know that they are helping save the lives of their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, teachers – and they are PROUD of it. ‘Dollar Defense’ isn’t about painting a dark picture about breast cancer, it’s about empowerment… it’s a celebration of survival as well as the power each one of us – young and old – has to continue to save lives.”
“Dollar Defense” leverages the momentum of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, as well as Komen Philadelphia’s Pretty In Pig program, sponsored by Dietz & Watson. Pretty In Pig has a special appeal to school-aged children as it utilizes over-sized and desk-top piggy banks to raise funds for the cause and demonstrate that every dollar counts in saving lives.
Students had the opportunity to contribute $1 or more to the Pretty In Pig program from October 1-31, which benefits Komen Philadelphia, and participate in a special activity at their school in celebration of National Mammography Day on October 16.
Another key element of “Dollar Defense” was education. Komen Philadelphia and the School District sent letters to students, parents and faculty/staff, which explained the activities of the project, as well as provided basic breast cancer and breast health information, as well as information on services available to help women in need. Students were educated via a letter with a few simple steps to take action – such as discussing concerns with their parents and reminding loved ones to get their mammograms. Adults received letters with more detailed information about breast cancer risks, signs and prevention, as well as how to access resources for screening and treatment in Komen Philadelphia’s fifteen-county service area.
While not a required part of the program, teachers also have been experiencing students wanting to discuss breast cancer on their own level in the class room – which Komen Philadelphia sees as another important dynamic driving more victories in the fight against breast cancer.
“Experiencing the student’s excitement for this program is truly inspirational to us as adults and as leaders in our community,” said Grobman. “More often than not, we find it is the children pushing the adults to make sure their classroom raises the most money to save lives, as well as to talk about breast cancer awareness. We have a responsibility to give these beautiful children what they have asked for – the opportunity to make a positive impact in their own lives, as well as in the lives of their loved ones.”
A resounding success in terms of fundraising, increased awareness levels and enthusiasm by participants, “Dollar Defense” was launched in 2011 and is now an annual program, which both groups feel will continue for many years to come. Each fall, Komen Philadelphia and the District embrace a family of teachers, students and parents who are primed to make the program even more successful than the year before with their energy, creativity and teamwork.
Top Fundraising Schools
Classroom and school fundraising from October 1-31 was totaled to determine the 2015 “Dollar Defense” winners. The top nine fundraising schools won a Dietz & Watson Grillebration on November 24. The top fundraising classroom, from Hamilton Disston School, also won an onsite tour of CBS 3 Studios. The top 2015 fundraising schools were (listed highest to lowest fundraising total):
- Hamilton Disston School: – Gwen Salamone’s class at Hamilton at Hamilton Disston School was also the top fundraising classroom
- Louis H. Farrell Elementary School
- Stephen Decatur School
- C.A. Baldi Middle School
- M. Patterson Elementary
- Fox Chase Elementary School
- Solis-Cohen Elementary School
- McCloskey Elementary School
- Vare-Washington Elementary School