CRESTVIEW — The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has an additional $1,500 that it can use for blood cancer research, education and patient support services.
Throughout February, Antioch Elementary School students donated that much loose change for the Pennies for Patients drive, event organizer and first-grade teacher Kristen Jordan said. The amount surpassed last year's $800 donation.
Cristina Ramos, 10, set up a collection container at home to get her family involved.
"I put it on the table, and they would put pennies in it," she said. "Every day, I would take it back to school to see how much money I would raise."
Cristina said she couldn't remember how much she donated, but she brought change to school each day.
Jordan said she submitted students' donations through a local Coinstar machine. Patrons can feed coins into the system and donate the amount to several charitable causes.
The experience gave students some perspective into helping others in need.
"I think donating money for the people who have leukemia is important," Ayden Howell, 10, said. "If I had leukemia, I would want people to donate ... to help cure me."
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society supports research for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, cancers that affect the bone marrow, blood cells, lymph nodes and other parts of the lymphatic system.
Last year, nearly 67,000 new cases of the three ailments were reported in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society website.
These cancers reportedly contributed to more than 23,600 deaths in the U.S. that same year.