Coyotes Clash With Cancer


Joanna Bragg

The Coyotes for a Cure team poses for a group photo.

Joe Laffman, Reporter

A group of high school students is coming together to participate in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) campaign with hopes to crush cancer and find a cure.

The students from Clarksburg, Poolesville, and St. John’s College, high schools are helping to fund programs that help cancer research and operations for current and future cancer patients. They are working together in a seven-week campaign to help raise money for current and future cancer patients.

PHS junior Alex Pope said that helping to raise money for cancer “sounded like a good thing to do and [I] should help people in need of the money.” 

The students have many different strategies to raise funds for the program. Pope mentioned that he plans on “emailing as many people as [he] can as well as contacting others that [he believes] may be willing to donate.”

Another member of the LLS campaign is CHS junior Nick Shifflett. This is his first full year with the program but plans to stay with the campaign for many years to come. A major contributor is junior Kyle D’Attilio. He, along with Shifflett and CHS junior Morgan Bragg are the team captains of “Coyotes For a Cure” and all are candidates for LLS student of the year. D’Attilio has been a part of LLS for multiple years, taking after his CHS alumni sister, Whitney D’Attilio, who played a massive role in previous years and earned herself notable scholarships for college.

Team leader Deborah D’Attilio holds immense goals for the campaign. She expressed that one of their founding values is “giving back to the community.” She also mentions that what drives her the most to raise money is to fight for people who suffer from leukemia, like her late coworker who lost his battle to cancer. 

Leukemia is the most common cancer for children to suffer from, and Deborah D’Attilio “can’t imagine what it’s like” and worries for her own kids. She is sympathetic to those who have to go through their everyday lives as their kids are being tormented by this deadly cancer.

Shifflett mentions that he “loves” to help people and wants to spend his time “more efficiently” and “do something worthwhile that goes to a good cause.” Shifflett later exclaimed that his main goal is to “inform” others and spread awareness among his community so they can “try to understand the problems others are dealing with.” What motivates Shifflett the most is his aunt, who defeated Hodgkin’s lymphoma but suffered for a lengthy time. He is driven to “raise money for others and their families suffering with them.”

This special group of high school students is working with many others throughout the DMV to raise money and find a cure for cancer. The LLS campaign begins Jan. 18 and carries on for seven full weeks. These students are holding public events such as a kickboxing fundraiser, shoveling snow, hosting baseball camps, contacting everyone they know, and will go door-to-door in order to raise enough money, crush cancer, and save lives.