Markey and LLS Host Sixth Annual ‘Meet the Researcher Day’

The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) recently hosted their sixth annual "Meet the Researcher Day" on April 27- 28. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign.

This year, Shelby County West Middle School, Mercer County Senior High School, New Albany High School and Henry County Middle School won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.

After a formal introduction by UK researchers Tianyan Gao and Craig Vander Kooi, the students received a tour on different cancer research labs in the BBSRB and learned how to use some basic lab equipment. The event also featured remarks from LLS Honored Hero Brad Wilson, a UK chemical engineering student and two-time leukemia survivor, UK Healthcare researcher and pediatric oncologist Dr. John D’Orazio, and a panel discussion on careers in science with D'Orazio and students Michael Gosky and Payton Stevens.

“I think it’s important that students get to see the lab spaces, meet the researchers, and understand what the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Markey Cancer Center mission is: the cure for cancer,” said Shelia Gustafson, campaign director for the Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of LLS.

Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the Student Series of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.

For this year's campaign, 485 schools across the region participated, raising more than $400,000, a new record. The schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. The four schools at Meet the Researchers Day this year were chosen in a random drawing, raising a combined $10,648.46 for LLS.