The annual Jamestown Middle School penny drive raised more than $11,600 in just five days to help three students and the cancer center at Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
The winner of the drive was Delta house, an eighth-grade group, which raised $3,849.37. There are six "houses" or teams at the school, two per grade, and each house competed to raise the most money.
The drive was conducted April 19-23 at the middle school, and the winner was announced Tuesday at a presentation that included giving the money raised to the four recipients.
Each of the four recipients received $2,923, said Mark Stilwell, assistant principal. The in-house penny drive took in $11,690, the third largest since the annual event began in the 1996-97 school year, he said.
The annual penny drive is about more than a competition, said Stilwell. It’s about helping others.
“This is who we want to be,” Stilwell said. “We want to think of others first, especially those in our community.”
JMS students receiving the funds from the penny drive were Patience Murry, Lane Gilbertson and Emilie Lang. The recipients and their families, along with Lisa Jackson of the JRMC Foundation, attended the presentation Tuesday.
Patience Murry is a seventh grader who has a heart aneurysm that is stable at this time. She has regular medical appointments with a specialist throughout the year at Children’s Heart Clinic in Minneapolis, said her mother, Charli Broderick. Patience said Tuesday that she feels “pretty good” right now and thanked everyone for the donation.
Broderick said she was grateful and appreciative of the funds and the support.
“(It's) Overwhelming in the best possible way,” she said.
Lane Gilbertson, an eighth grader, had surgery in December of 2019 to remove a malignant brain tumor followed by proton radiation and chemotherapy that ended in the fall of 2020. His cancer is in remission and he is receiving physical and occupational therapy to walk unaided by a walker or wheelchair.
Lane’s mother, Judy, said the donation “definitely helps.”
Emilie Lang, an eighth grader, will have surgery on May 25 in St. Paul, Minnesota, on her leg and foot to help her walk more easily, followed by therapy.
Emilie actually helped organize the penny drive as a member of the student council, said her mother, Lisa, but didn’t know she would be named a recipient.
“That was a fun surprise,” said her father, Brian.
Jackson said the funds donated to JRMC Cancer Center would be used to support patient care and for gas cards.
“I am honored and humbled to be here representing the cancer center and all the patients that we serve,” she said.
Since its beginning, the penny drive has raised a total of $177,397, Stilwell said.
“I’m so proud of the kids and I’m so, so proud of our staff,” he said.