When five students in Lori Schaffer’s eighth grade ELA class first cracked the cover of “Tuesdays with Morrie.” they had no idea it would lead them to fight a disease they had never heard of.
The book chronicles the interaction of writer Mitch Abrom with his former college professor, Morrie Schwartz who is dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
They studied the disease as part of a joint science/ELA project. And what they learned disturbed them. ALS has no cure. No one knows what causes this anti-immune disease. It attacks the nerves that control voluntary muscles, ultimately robbing the patient of the ability to walk, talk, and breathe.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Rather than sitting back, Jacob Nasse, Chelsea Stetin, Ella Robinson, Kelly Davidson, and Sage Stinson approached Mrs. Schaffer with an idea. They proposed selling wristbands to raise money to help fund ALS research.
Together, they designed and ordered 300 black and gold wristbands. They planned to sell them for one dollar during their lunch and recess periods. Others sold them at the school’s Family Fun Day.
The students admit they weren’t expecting much back in February. Maybe they would sell a few hundred to other eighth graders. Three months later, they have sold 250 wristbands and have received a $500 donation. Along they way, they learned about people who had family members and friends with ALS.
Not only is the money they raised making a difference, it has changed the five classmates.
“It feels good knowing you’re helping someone who could be your neighbor,” said Ella.
“We know we’re helping doctors help people live a better life,” added Sage.
When asked what else they want others to know about their efforts.
“ALS is fatal; donate,” said Sage.
Kelly nodded, “Buy bracelets.”