Last night, the Putnam City Schools presented OMRF with a check for $78,267. The funds, which were raised by district students and teachers, will go to support cancer research at OMRF.
With this gift, Putnam City Schools have donated a total of $2,993,253 to OMRF since the district began its fund drive for cancer research in 1975.
“The students and teachers of Putnam City Schools have shown a remarkable commitment to philanthropy and cancer research,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “Year after year, they give of their time and energy to help improve human health. I suspect the lessons the students learn about community service and giving are ones they will carry with them throughout their lives.”
Students and faculty collected funds through a 5-kilometer run, sales of baked goods, jog-a-thons, car washes, talent shows, carnivals and a variety of other methods.
While students at all district schools have a connection to cancer research fundraising, the link at Putnam City High School is especially strong. In 1975, the district’s cancer fund drive was started at Putnam City High by Lois Thomas, a journalism teacher at the school. This year, Putnam City High students are fundraising for cancer research at OMRF in honor of Debbie Ocker, a math teacher at the school who died from breast cancer last year.
“Every time we do something like this, we refer to ourselves as Ocker’s Army,” said Eddie Wright, Putnam City High’s leadership director.
Cancer drive funds have been used to purchase a wide variety of sophisticated laboratory equipment, including high-powered microscopes, centrifuges and incubators. The district’s efforts also established the Putnam City Schools Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research, which is held by OMRF scientist Linda Thompson, Ph.D.
The district will host its third annual Cancer Classic 5-kilometer run or 1-mile fun run and walk on Nov. 19. To register, go to www.facebook.com/PCCancerClassic.