ANGOLA — Angola High School senior Abby Stoy was named Student of the Year by the Fort Wayne chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association on Saturday.
This is the first year the Fort Wayne chapter has hosted Student of the Year, modeling it after an established program in Indianapolis. Abby, the daughter of Kevin and Bridget Stoy, campaigned in the name of her cousin Olivia Stoy, 15, who is recovering from a bone marrow transplant and a two-year battle with T lymphoblastic lymphoma.
“Within the next year I hope to continue to work closely with LLS and their mission to find a cure for blood cancers while acting as a mentor and a model for younger students,” said Stoy. She encouraged her peers to reach out to her.
Eleven family members and friends were part of Abby’s campaign team, including Olivia. The campaign raised more than $62,000.
In total, three candidates for SOY raised more than $135,000.
“We are incredibly grateful for all the students’ dedication and hard work,” said a statement from the Indiana chapter of LLS. “You have truly made an impact in the fight against blood cancers.”
Among Abby’s outreaches were halftime three-point contests at basketball games, raffles, paper blood droplets that could be purchased at local businesses and a dodgeball tournament that included teams from Hamilton, Prairie Heights, Eastside, Fremont and Angola high schools.
Abby, who plans to study exercise science and ultimately attend a graduate program in physical therapy with a concentration in pediatrics, said she’d learned a lot in the past seven weeks.
“The original reason I became involved with LLS to begin with was my younger cousin Olivia. As my journey continued I met many survivors young and old. Some people I knew for a long time and had no idea that they had a history with blood cancer, and others that I hadn’t ever known that felt compelled to share their story,” said Abby. Among them was Morgan, an 11-year-old girl from Fort Wayne diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma in 2017.
“Morgan was our honored hero for the campaign, basically meaning that she was the face of Student of the Year this year,” said Abby. “I got to know her through this campaign.”
Olivia has been the LLS Girl of the Year and plans to campaign to be Student of the Year in the future. Her organization, Liv It Up, not only raised the funds needed for her bone marrow transplant but has also started taking applications to help other families struck by childhood cancer.
SOY is a philanthropic leadership development program for exemplary high school students. Through her campaign, Abby said she’s learned about time management and networking with people of all ages. She has also furthered the cause of LLS.
The nonprofit LLS’ mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.