Deerfield High Schoolers fight against lung cancer
Deerfield High School juniors Samantha Gottstein (left) and Graham Ambrose, both members of student council are responsible for organizing a charity push for LUNGevity. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
LUNGevity at Deerfield High School
•Run for the Change 5k at DHS track, Dec. 1
•Benefit dinner at the Hyatt Deerfield Hotel, Dec. 2
•DHS Idol at DHS auditorium, Dec. 6
•Mr. DHS pageant at DHS auditorium, Dec. 10
•Connect with DHS School Chest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Updated: November 29, 2012 3:24PM
Focusing on a cause.
That’s been the story of two Deerfield High School students’ lives for the past five months.
Hundreds of e-mails; meetings with national non-profit organizers, coordinating a series of school and community events — and still keeping up with classwork and other activities.
Sixteen-year-olds Samantha Gottstein and Graham Ambrose said they’ve been on a mission to bring awareness to and raise funds for a special cause – the LUNGevity Foundation. This year, the DHS student body voted to support LUNGevity for this year’s School Chest – the school’s annual fundraiser.
Gottstein and Graham, who are co-chairs of this year’s School Chest, said they looked at 50 charities in all.
“LUNGevity is a foundation that works to eradicate lung cancer,” Gottstein said. “They do it through a variety of ways, (mainly) through research.”
“(School Chest) lasts for three weeks, between the breaks of Thanksgiving and winter vacation,” Graham said. “For those three weeks, we push fundraising throughout the school.”
Gottstein said they’ve known about LUNGevity since April 2011, when the non-profit held a run/walk at the high school, called Breathe Deep, Deerfield.
“When it came around to summer (of 2012), they gave us some information and submitted the proposal to be one of the School Chest candidates this year,” Gottstein said. “In August, they came and presented (their pitch) to the student council.”
Once the student body voted, and LUNGevity was chosen as the 2012 School Chest beneficiary, all the hard work started, Graham said.
“The number of e-mails Sam and I send out every day is amazing (to make this happen),” Graham said. “It’s a huge task and a huge responsibility, but the reward matches the greatness of the task.”
Both Graham and Gottstein said, while neither of them have had loved ones affected by lung disease, their passion for the cause runs deep.
“I have been totally missed by this very horrible disease, but that is such a positive for me, because I am absolutely devoted to this cause,” Graham said. “I love LUNGevity’s work.”
“My family has been touched by cancer, but not lung cancer, so for me, when they presented it, it was a very fresh perspective on what the disease is and who it’s impacting,” Gottstein said. “The people that (LUNGevity) brought in to speak are parents of kids who I see everyday in the hallways. People in my own community will be directly benefiting from the funds we are raising in the school.”
Graham said the campaign kicked off on Wednesday, Nov. 28 with a school assembly and plenty more activities to come, including a 5k run, dinner fundraiser, a DHS Idol contest and Mr. DHS beauty pageant.
“If you can imagine a pageant for senior boys,” Graham said, with a laugh. “It’s a humorous take on something people all know about (the Miss America pageant).
When the campaign is all said and done, Graham and Gottstein know one thing will be for sure.
“The five months’ work is going to pay off,” Graham said.
Graham said to make donations or for more information on this year’s events, e-mail SchoolChest@gmail.com, or visit www.LUNGevity.org/SchoolChest.