WATERLOO — DeKalb High School junior Emily Eshbach has been selected as a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Student of the Year candidate and will host a seven-week campaign, beginning in January, to raise money for LLS.
“Everyone has a cancer story,” Eshbach said of her desire to become involved in the event. Eshbach said her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all have been affected by breast cancer.
Eshbach, of Waterloo, has set a goal of raising $50,000 to benefit LLS and the mission to cure blood cancers through the Student of the Year Campaign leadership development and philanthropy program. She is one of 15 nominees from 12 northeast Indiana counties who will participate in the fundraising competition. Every dollar raised counts as one vote. The candidate or team who raises the most money at the end of the seven-week competition earns the title of Student(s) of the Year. The winner will be revealed at a gala in March.
According to LLS, since the early 1960s, five-year survival rates for many blood cancer patients have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled and many LLS-supported therapies not only help blood cancer patients but are helping patients with other cancers and serious diseases. Drugs first approved for blood cancers are now approved to treat patients with stomach cancers, skin cancers and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to LLS.
Eshbach will seek donations and sponsorships from businesses and corporations as well as personal donations. Local businesses already have pledged their support and will donate items for a silent auction, she said.
She also will raise funds at special events that she and her team will organize and execute. Already, she has spoken with student and administrative leaders at her school and is working with the school to stage an event that will engage students, she said.
She hopes that as well as raising funds, engaging students to share of their time and talents now will encourage and motivate them to be engaged in philanthropy in the future.
“The whole goal is to engage everyone in the county,” she said of her campaign.
Eshbach is the daughter of Melissa and Mike Eshbach. At DeKalb High School, she is a swimmer, a member of the Respect Team, Leo Club, National Honor Society and Entrepreneur Club.
She also is involved in the Miss America Organization and will compete as Miss Duneland in the Miss Indiana Outstanding Teen competition. Her pageant platform is Tri Kappa Kids, which aims to involve children in community outreach, she said.