Stillwater students raise $11,000 for cancer research

The students at Stillwater High School set a prodigious goal for themselves: raise $8,000 for cancer research at OMRF.

Then they went and raised $11,251.

The Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) group at the high school made their first donation to OMRF in 2011 with $2,600. In 2012, they raised $6,000.

“It’s snowballed,” said family and consumer sciences teacher Fran Stellman. “Each year we’ve gotten bigger and better.”

During the school’s Pink Out Week last October, which was sponsored by the FCCLA, students and clubs at the school sold T-shirts, held garage sales, made cookies and raised money through activities every day.

“Our FCCLA group is strong,” she said. “These kids are really driven. We couldn’t have done this without all the schools in our district and our community.”

And their drive to give benefits everyone, said OMRF senior development associate Allison Coleman. By designating their gift to cancer research, the students ensured the funds they raised will stay in Oklahoma and be used to better understand the causes of cancer and to find new therapies to fight it.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of Stillwater High School’s FCCLA group,” Coleman said. “These students are the cream of the crop, involved in so many different activities, so for them to choose OMRF as the beneficiary of these wonderful efforts is an honor.”

OMRF researches cancer at every stage. Scientists in the Cell Cycle and Cancer Biology Research Program study how problems in cell division can set the stage for cancer. Using OMRF’s Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging Center, researchers have discovered biomarkers which could be used by doctors to diagnose some brain cancers.

OMRF scientists Rheal Towner, Ph.D., and Robert Floyd, Ph.D., are in phase 1 clinical testing of a drug they think could be key to stopping the most deadly form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme.

And last year, OMRF welcomed David Jones, Ph.D., as head of the Immunobiology and Cancer Research Program. His research aims to “rehabilitate” cancer cells and redirect them to a less harmful path.