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Wendy Smith hikes to raise money for leukemia research

Leukemia is the number one killer of children between the ages of 1 and 14, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Wendy Smith, Counseling Psychology staff member, has joined that society for a series of fundraising hikes to change those numbers. Leukemia statistics became more than numbers for Smith when her daughter Trisha died from leukemia just 80 days after receiving a bone marrow transplant. Trisha was 5 years old.

If a family member of yours is sick, the key to getting through it is getting support from your family and friends.

“Without the support of other people, it would be impossible,” Smith said.

Support can come in many forms, whether it is monetary support or something as simple as babysitting; every little bit helps, according to Smith.

While her daughter was sick, Smith found that her church played a key role in helping her and her family.

Since then, Smith has begun to get more involved in her community such as school and church work. This past January, she joined a program called Hike for Discovery, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s adventure program.

Smith, along with a number of other volunteers, spends her Saturdays hiking in the Poconos and the Appalachian trail, as well as other state parks.

According to Smith, while some volunteers had a family member or close friend struck with this disease, some are just involved because they want to help.

These hikes are in preparation for their final hike at the Grand Canyon, which is set to begin May 3.

The group hopes to raise a total of $200,000, meaning that each volunteer is to raise $4,000 each.

Smith hopes to reach this goal by receiving donations from businesses and groups as well as from individuals. According to Smith, 76 percent of the donated money is given to the Leukemia Society for such things as research, while the rest is used for further fundraising efforts.

Smith would like to continue doing this program on a yearly basis. She hopes to see an increase in community support that will eventually lead to a cure for leukemia.

There are a number of ways that people, including college students at Eastern, can get involved. Students can give a financial gift on their website or donate something in new or good condition to their garage sale. To donate to the garage sale, bring it to Smith’s office in McInnis before April 15; all of the proceeds will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Also, according to Smith, if you change your homepage to http://cure.myfundrazor.org and use that to shop online (at no extra cost), online mall advertisers will send rebates from 2 to 40 percent, and you can still shop using the websites through which you would normally shop.

Last, if you know of anyone who has been a victim of this cancer, you can e-mail his or her name to Wendy Smith at wsmith3@eastern.edu, and she will write his or her name on a ribbon on her backpack when she hikes the Grand Canyon.

For more information, visit: http://www.active.com/donate/hFdepa/HfdWSmith.

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