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Fourth-annual "Pennies for Pink" effort raises thousands for cancer patients

photo of students

October 24, 2016 — Now in its fourth year—and second school-building headquarters—the annual “Pennies for Pink” drive is still collecting thousands of dollars to get local cancer patients to and from their treatments.

"Our total is $2,355.52, or 94 gas cards!!" said parent volunteer Cathy Sweet. "That's $355.52 above goal. In four years we have raised $5,756!"

"Each building, student, staff and community member should be incredibly proud! Thank you!" she continued.

Fifth-grader Jack Sweet had the idea back in second grade, when his grandfather was diagnosed with breast cancer. Jack had been moved by a video at one of his elementary school’s unity assemblies, and wanted to create a service project that could involve his entire class.

photo of students and staff

Jack Sweet and other GFMS fifth-graders take a break from multiple live reports with News 10 ABC reporter Mary Williams. The morning newscast on October 21, 2016 featured the "Pennies for Pink" story.

The “Pennies for Pink” coin drive began as an October fundraiser to benefit patients undergoing treatment at the C.R. Wood Cancer Center of Glens Falls Hospital. And as students and staff members pitched in, the fundraising totals continued to grow.

In 2013, as a second-grader in Amanda Clough’s classroom, Jack and his friends raised $400. In 2014, as a third-grader in Nicole Jerzak’s class, the effort netted $800. By the time Jack was a fourth-grader in Brian Donohue’s class, other elementary schools were joining the effort—and the school community raised more than $2,000 to benefit local cancer patients.

This year’s effort moved with Jack from Jackson Heights to the Middle School, and continues to raise hundreds of dollars that go towards gas gift cards to help patients get to and from the hospital for their chemotherapy.

News 10 ABC reporter Mary Williams reported live from Kathleen Gebo’s classroom at the Middle School during the morning newscast on October 21st. Jack and his friends got up early—with plenty of energy—to talk about the fundraising effort and raise awareness of breast cancer.

Watch Mary Williams’ taped report here, with the story transcript below the video. For more on previous "Pennies for Pink" efforts, click HERE and HERE.

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A fifth grader’s desire to help those battling breast cancer has become the mission of his entire community.

Counting pennies one by one, spare change that will change the lives of cancer patients for the better.

“It feels really good since I know I’m helping people and my friends and family are helping people too,” Jack Sweet, creator of Pennies for Pink, said.

In second grade, Sweet’s grandfather was diagnosed with breast cancer. Soon after, Pennies for Pink was born and Jack began collecting change, giving it to cancer patients in the form of gas cards.

His classmates are eager to help.

“I know how hard it was for Jack, so it’s good to know that we’re helping people,” Kieran Templeton, 5th-grade student, said.

The first year, Pennies for Pink brought in $400 dollars. Last year, that amount rose to more than $2,000 thanks to growing support from the community.

“Everyone should help everybody else because you don’t know when you’ll be in the same shoes that other people are in,” Gabrielle Houde, 5th-grade student, said.

The entire district pitching in, kids collecting change during lunch, taking in contributions from across the area. They’re sorting it out, and counting every last penny, knowing even one cent and one student can make a difference.

“Anybody can do anything, it matters how big your heart is, not how tall you are or your age,” Houde said.

Jack and his friends prove that right pledging to keep Pennies for Pink alive, with each new grade they enter and beyond.

“Once I get into high school, I’ll try to get the high school into it, but I want this to go on even when I’m not here,” Sweet said.

All the pennies from all the different schools will be gathered together, counted up, and donated on Friday.

The last day of collection is Friday. To donate send a check made out to CR Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital or click
here to make a donation. (Story from: