Funding Hope: One NHS student is fighting cancer through fundraising and his LLS team


NHS sophomore Jack Beahrs competed for the “Student of the Year” award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Beahrs placed 3rd in the competition.

Gabe Fryling and Breanna Helms

In this world, there are many ways cancer and diseases of all kinds can be defeated. You can donate, you can educate and more. But Jack Beahrs, a sophomore at NHS, decided to create a team that is fighting for the end of leukemia and lymphoma one step at a time. 

Beahrs entered the competition for Student Of The Year, a competitive fundraiser hosted by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Many students every year throughout Indiana compete to raise the most money during a 7-week period through January to early March. This money is raised through donations, fundraisers, and more and all the money goes to cancer research. 

“The LLS is the world’s largest non-profit organization that is dedicated to funding blood cancer research for all of those affected by it,” Beahrs said.

For many decades, scientists have fought for a cure for cancer. But now Generation Z has some very big shoes to fill, as they have been predicted as the generation to find a cure.     

“My plan was to assemble a team of different people who also have had their lives impacted by cancer, so they would have the same drive that I do to work for this cause and be the generation that ends cancer once and for all,” Beahrs said. 

Cancer has affected many lives one way or another, from having a family member diagnosed with cancer or unfortunately for many people, fighting their own battle against cancer. For Beahrs, the disease has impacted him and his family greatly.

Three years ago, my cousin, Adam was diagnosed with leukemia. He is the same age as me, and has unfortunately relapsed once. As of now, he is doing well. My younger brother was also diagnosed with cancer two years ago, in the form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He is doing fine now as well,” Beahrs said. 

      But Beahrs is not alone fighting for this cause, as he has a team that he is working with. Many members of this team have their own ways cancer has affected them and they want to help Beahrs fight for his cause.

When reaching out to my family about SOY (Student of the Year) and LLS, my grandma reminded me that her father, my great grandpa, passed away in 1974 from leukemia…I was shocked that while he survived many battles, he unfortunately lost his battle against cancer. I am now a part of this campaign in honor of him,” sophomore Elizabeth Payne and member of Jack’s team said.

Beahrs’ team consists of nine members, ranging from high school students to adults. Each member helped Beahrs raise money by reaching out to family members and friends or contacting companies as well.

I’ve gotten corporate sponsorships from Elements Financial and The Indianapolis Indians and LifeOmic and matching funds from 185 Promotions and Apparel. I collected auction items from local artists for a ‘Picture Perfect’ auction basket,” Payne said. 

The amount of donations Beahrs received surprised him, leading him to change his goal shortly after his campaign began. 

My initial goal was to raise $25K in seven weeks. After the campaign officially began, I raised that amount in nearly one week. I readjusted my goal to $75,000, and after the campaign, I can say that I successfully surpassed my goal,” Beahrs said.

But Beahrs was not the only one to raise so much money, as all Student of the Year candidates raised an impressive amount that totaled $543,604. The generosity of everyone surprised Beahrs, as he saw so many people pitch in to help him. He did not imagine how much everyone would give, and it all is going to what he feels is a great cause. 

People have been very generous and supportive towards me, which feels great. It is always nice to see other people care about a cause that matters so much to you, especially one like this,” Beahrs said. 

This campaign has also been a learning experience for Beahrs, as he got to learn many social skills and management tools that he says will be necessary later in life. 

“I have learned many things, such as a little preview of what life can be like after school. I have had to approach many businesses and give presentations to them, and learn how to successfully manage and lead a team to success. I also learned that there truly is plenty of good in the world, and all you have to do is look for it,” Beahrs said.

As Beahrs reflects on his campaign, he thinks about why he started his path for Student of the Year, and even though he lost, he still hopes to teach others after he is done.

      “I have personally witnessed what it is like to see someone you know and love battle cancer,” Beahrs said. “I know that cancer is very impactful, and affects people much more than we realize. I want to raise awareness for others that were like myself once, and were under the illusion that cancer only impacted other people,”