Newsome High School sophomores James LaBarbera and Henry Sprinkle know the value of teamwork on and off the ice. The two Newsome hockey players are leading a team to raise money to help find a cure for blood cancers.
Their team, the CUREsaders, is made up of nine fellow classmates and is part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Student Visionaries of the Year program, which is a seven-week philanthropic leadership development program for students. Their team’s goal is to raise $25,000.
LaBarbera and Sprinkle were inspired to lead this year’s team after seeing the impact their hockey teammates, Nick Ball and Aiden Byrnes, made with the program last year. They are passionate about their efforts because of people suffering from cancer.
“When I was asked to be a participant my freshman year, I realized that many people I knew were either affected or knew someone affected by this terrible disease, and I wanted to do all I could to help find a cure,” Sprinkle said.
LaBarbera and Sprinkle chose the Patient Support pillar of LLS’s mission to fundraise under because they both have had people close to them who have had cancer.
“I want to better the lives of the people suffering from blood cancers. People shouldn’t have to live with this illness affecting their lives every day, so I want to be a part of helping them be better,” LaBarbera said.
The hours LaBarbera and Sprinkle spend fundraising with their team will make a tremendous difference to those living with or in remission from a blood cancer. Their work as leaders planning, organizing and marketing the campaign is also developing them as individuals.
“This fundraising event has taught me leadership skills, accountability and responsibility. My partner and I must lead a team we picked to raise money for LLS, and any problems they have, or if they aren’t raising money, is my responsibility. I also must raise money myself to prove that I am an accountable leader for my team,” LaBarbera said.
CUREsaders teammates include LaBarbera, co-leader; Sprinkle, co-leader; Alexandra Ball; Brady Combs; Christopher Iannicelli; Emma LaBarbera; Ethan Weitz; Jacob Santarlas; Peter Shaw; and Ryan Eichler.
The team’s Grand Finale Celebration will be held on Friday, March 10. Donations can be made through June.
To learn more about the CUREsader team or to donate, visit https://events.lls.org/sun/svoysuncoast23/tcuresader. Information about the national LLS campaign can be found at www.llsstudentvisionaries.org.