Julia Strittmatter & Hanna Sellinger Team It ALL Matters Named 2017 Students of the Year
The fourth annual Students of the Year gala presented by Sentrillion celebrated a record breaking year. Exceeding all expectations, the 2017 Students of the Year campaign, raised over $851,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) mission, a world without blood cancers. The six-week competition comprised of 24 teams of 48 candidates and over 100 team members from local high schools, culminated in a Gala at the Capital Hilton, bringing together the students and their families to celebrate the inspiring amount of life-saving funds raised by these dedicated and outstanding students. Students of the Year Honorary Chair Eileen Whelan of ABC7/News Channel 8 and Students of the Year Co-Chairs Amanda & Jason Tiede of The Washington Group, Northwestern Mutual, co-emceed the event.
Team It ALL Matters, led by Julia Strittmatter and Hanna Sellinger, sophomores at The Connelly School of the Holy Child, were named Students of the Year, “We set a goal at the start and somewhere along the journey decided that we wanted to reach beyond that and make a significant impact for the mission of LLS and the fight against blood cancer,” said Julia and Hanna. The two girls alongside their 3 team members, Gabrielle Hanley, Winnie Beaudet, and Gigi McBride were inspired to participate in the campaign by previous Holy Child Candidate and 2016 runner up, Mackenzie Whipp. Hanna is especially motivated to find a cure in honor of her Uncle Rollie who sadly lost his battle to lymphoma this past summer.
Kyles Army, was led by Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, and junior at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Kyle Fritschi. “When I was a freshman, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,” says Fritschi. “What started out as a little ball on the side of my neck, turned out to be one of about a dozen tumors on both sides of my neck. Ever since my diagnosis, I have tried to be an advocate for patients with blood cancer, especially when they are children.” Kyle, the 2016 Students of the Year Honored Hero, returned to the campaign this year with 10 close friends determined successfully fundraise- they were named First Runner-Up.
Second Runner-Up was Team Attack 4 Jack 2.0 led by Amanda Kay, Zoe Holland, and Madison Ugaz from The Bullis School. Special recognition was given to Maddie’s Mission, SIGhts on a Cure FOR MAN Kind, and Hoyas & Cubs for the Cure. These six teams, having raised $50,000 or more are eligible to link their name with cutting-edge LLS-funded research. The Top Fundraiser Recognition Award connects the individual with one of LLS’s 10 research portfolios. The portfolios include a variety of projects that focus on specific blood cancer research, so candidates may choose one that is meaningful to them.
“This was an incredible group! What these dedicated students achieved in just 6 weeks is inspiring” said Beth Gorman, Executive Director of LLS’s National Capital Area Chapter. “The funds they raised are contributing to changing the landscape of blood cancers – we are grateful to the students for their tenacity and enthusiasm in supporting the LLS mission. Their efforts will positively impact cancer patients and their families.”
Candidates were also recognized for their Volunteerism, and Community Involvement, and commitment to the LLS Mission. The Citizenship Awards, sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and By Light Professional IT Services, went to: Kyle Fritschi of Kyle’s Army for Community Involvement; Megan Hart, Mae Babbington, and Tommy Shriver of Team Hoyas & Cubs for the Cure for Volunteerism; and William Valentine of Team Valentine for Mission. Each of these Teams received a $2,500 college scholarship in recognition of their award.
The money raised by the students will benefit the critical research and patient programs supported by LLS.