Deerfield students raise $135,000 for LUNGevity
Deerfield High School students Graham Ambrose and Samantha Gottstein, who co-chaired the school's 2012 School Chest, reveal that studentes raised more than $135,000 for LUNGevity. | Photo courtesy District 113
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:30AM
DEERFIELD — Shattering its original fund-raising goal of $100,000, Deerfield High School’s School Chest raised $135,393.17 for its chosen charity, LUNGevity.
A LUNGevity representative told the students that the amount will fund more than a year of lung cancer research.
“I was just in awe and overwhelmed over what we just found out,” said Samantha Gottstein, who co-chaired the campaign with Graham Ambrose. “I was more surprised than emotional.”
Gottstein said she “emotionally lost it” when the announcement came out.
“I just started crying,” she said. “I was overjoyed by everything.”
Before school dismissed for winter break Dec. 20, members of School Chest team revealed the grand total on a live broadcast to the entire student body. While Gottstein and Ambrose knew the grand total in advance, they said it was difficult keeping it a secret from their classmates.
“People were asking us all day (about the total), and we’d say we think we did OK,” Gottstein said. “We just decided to keep it within, and our sponsors knew as well, but that was it.”
Jill Feldman, a LUNGevity member and Deerfield resident who is battling lung cancer, said she was “so excited” about the amount of money raised.
“I continue to be in awe of these teenagers,” Feldman said. “I don’t think they realize how much they’ve done as far as educating the community.”
Feldman said it costs about $100,000 a year for a young scientist to conduct cancer research, and that the funds will more than easily pay for that.
“I think they don’t realize the importance of that and the impact that will have for so many years to come,” Feldman said.
The nearly four-week fund-raising campaign was built largely around community involvement, Ambrose said. The 5K walk/run and benefit dinner proved two of the biggest events during the campaign, Ambrose said.
“It is the support of the Deerfield High School students and community members that made School Chest unforgettable,” Ambrose said. “Sam and I loved each and every minute of work, but in the end, our contribution was but a mere fraction of the community.”
School Chest fliers were put up in local businesses and restaurants. Ambrose said online donations were also highly popular. Gottstein reported that part alone raked in around $30,000.
“As a fund-raiser, we owe everything to the community,” Ambrose said.
Gottstein said she hopes this effort sets a precedent for next year’s fund-raiser.
“I’m still digesting this year, but next year’s school chest will be phenomenal,” Gottstein said.
“The overall success exceeded our most unimaginable expectations.”Ambrose added. “For this, we are extremely grateful.”