For one particular high school student, sympathy isn't good enough.
When Aili Makuch, a student at Chautauqua Lake Central School, was diagnosed with pediatric cancer, she received overwhelming support from her classmates and administration at CLCS. She was even given the opportunity to shave the head of secondary school principal Josh Liddell after her classmates raised $2,700 to help with her medical expenses. Now support is coming from a friend and fellow student in another school district.
Jesse Pardue, a senior at Maple Grove High School, has taken it upon himself to help with Aili's expenses by starting his own organization. His nonprofit organization is called Kick the Cancer and his aim is to alleviate the out-of-pocket costs that cancer patients and their families must pay for treatment.
Aili Makuch, a Chautauqua Lake Central School student who is fighting pediatric cancer, is pictured shaving the head of Josh Liddell, her school principal, at the end of a recent fundraiser.
P-J?file photo by
"I was looking at a bunch of different charities and organizations and found that all of them are donating money toward finding a cure," said Jesse. "I wanted to do something more personal to help cancer sufferers."
In addition to financial assistance, Jesse also hopes to provide unique personal experiences for cancer patients. These experiences include activities such as rafting, horse back riding and sporting events.
In doing so, Jesse hopes to improve the quality of life for those who are so desperately holding onto it.
"I have just started (the organization) and my goal is to make it a success," said Jesse. "Many of our early donations will be directed toward Aili Makuch. Afterward, we plan to pair with local businesses to sponsor a charity event. I have been in contact with a company to create some wristbands that should be available in about a month."
Jesse's marketing approach thus far has been Internet-based with the creation of a professional website and a Facebook page. The website contains links to Aili's story and general information and facts about cancer. It also provides an option to donate and the unique ability to recommend a family for donation.
"As of now, our website is the only medium for receiving donations," said Jesse. "Eventually, we would like to be able to allow people to make direct donations through our local businesses and have company-sponsored fundraisers where people can pledge support."
Jesse plans to start contacting businesses and garnering community support as early as next week. For more information or to make a donation to Aili Makuch, go to www.kickthecancer.org.