FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - Before the first bell rang at
"It’s a terrible disease that affects a lot of people, and we have a lot of families here that have felt a real connection to it," said Chris Tressler, teacher New Market Elementary. "We have staff members and families that have told me connections that they have to people, and we are really glad to get behind, it’s very important."
With help from the community, students raised more than $3,000 for the organization's "Pennies for Patients" fundraiser. So far that's more money than the 300 other state schools involved.
“The kids have rallied. They are very excited. They understand what they are doing has a direct impact,” said Tressler. “They understand what they do as a team has more impact than individuals."
And for Custodian Jan Palczewski, this event hits close to home. His wife suffers from melanoma cancer and next week goes into surgery for a bone marrow transplant.
"It’s very important, especially for my wife and at the University at Maryland. I see all people of all ages being diagnosed with leukemia, so this is very important for them to discover cures for this disease," said Palczewski.
"Him being here is very important. He has always been behind these causes. The first time we shaved our heads he did, and his head is still shaved. And I think he really appreciates what is going on but we are a family here and its just what we do," said Tressler.
A lot of hair was lost at this event and although it did help them raise some of the money, Tressler said it was more about being a symbol of support.
“We have told the kids that when cancer patients get their chemo and medication it can have an effect where their hair may fall out and we are trying to send the message to them by shaving our heads, that number one we support them and we want to try and understand what they are going through. But more importantly, we find them as heroes and we want to support them in their fight,” said Tressler.
Their hair may be gone but the fundraiser continues as the school hopes to surpass its numbers and be an example for the community.
The school is still accepting donations until the end of the week.