Making a Difference: Leukemia Fundraiser, Clothes Drive


Photo by Jocelyn Urbina

Interact Club President Uriel Velazquez-Leon and Vice President Stephany Urbina-Diaz count money for the Leukemia Drive during Interact Club

Sophomore Rayhaan (Ray) Mohammed knows the pain caused by leukemia and other blood cancers. When his father’s close friend was diagnosed, it “threw [him] off, and affected [his] lifestyle,” Ray said.

“Just having a relative with leukemia makes me realize how others affected by it are feeling and damaging their lives,” Ray said.

Ray felt hope and gratitude when the Interact Club started its Leukemia Drive on April 6 to raise money for research into leukemia and other blood cancers.

“Small things can make a big difference,” said Ray, who participates actively in Interact.  “I think that it’s a good opportunity for others to help make this world a bigger place.”

The severity of blood cancers strikes around the world. In 2020, 474,519 incident cases and 311,594 deaths of leukemia were reported worldwide by the National Library of Medicine.

The Leukemia Drive was the Interact club’s final event this year and it showed steady progress. The winning class was Spanish teacher Carlos Baquero’s 1st period class, which will get a root beer and pizza party.  They collected $293.50, according to Art teacher Linda Filo, who advises the Interact Club. All together, the three-week drive raised $1,128.35.

A few weeks earlier, the Interact club concluded its Clothes Drive. The Clothes Drive lasted about a month and gathered enough donated clothing to require three vans to transport to the Ecumenical Hunger Program (EHP).

“The exciting part … is how much clothes, starting from the first day, were collected,” Linda said.

Linda remembers loading up two Eastside vans and one regular van and noticing how they were all “filled with clothes.” On her first trip to the office, she saw the clothes filled up the corner of the office and heard Office Manager Janelle Fine say jokingly, “This is getting ridiculous!”

EHP will distribute the clothes throughout the community through onsite stores.

“It’s a great way to repurpose and hand out to people in need,” Linda said.