South Fayette School District News Article

Junior Earns Cancer Research Award

As part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Student Visionaries Program, South Fayette junior Camryn Hondru was motivated to make a difference for everyone impacted by blood cancer, but particularly for her classmate and family friend, SF senior, Tyler Schepis. 

“This is South Fayette’s third year participating in the LLS Visionaries Program and my second year on the team,” said Camryn. “Last year, Cooper Hillebrand, Anna Fraps, and Aiden Martincic ran our team and invited me to be a part of it. That was when Tyler was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and I was so motivated to raise money while I watched him struggle through chemo because there wasn’t anything I could fully do to make him feel better.”

“I like to be in charge and be a leader,” Camryn continued about why she took charge of South Fayette’s Student Visionaries team for 2024. “And I thought having Tyler lead with me would be good since he had such a personal connection.”

The team, Team Cancer Conquerors, also included co-leader sophomore Taylor Peters, and a total of 16 members partially made up of South Fayette students. Following program rules, they had seven weeks, between February 2 and March 22, 2024, to raise as much money as possible for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Camryn, Tyler, and Taylor led their team to hold events at a winery, Primanti’s and Chipotle restaurants, email companies for donations, sell raffle baskets, and more. Camryn and Tyler also joined former Pittsburgh Steeler Arthur Moats on his podcast to discuss their efforts with the campaign and their goal of ending cancer for good. Together, the team raised approximately $50,000 from more than 400 donors. For reaching the 50,000 dollar mark, the team earned the Hero Award from LLS. 

Additionally, team leaders in the Student Visionaries Program had the opportunity to apply for a Mission Award from LLS by writing an essay. Dedicated to research for blood cancers, Camryn’s essay was focused on this topic and was selected among all of those on the subject. She received an award and $250 college scholarship for her efforts. Reflecting on her personal experience in her essay, Camyrn said “I realized that the main thing to make them feel better was to get rid of the cancer and this would only happen through the research aspect of finding a cure. This made me realize that the research is the most important part….”

The Pittsburgh region had 16 LLS Student Visionaries teams in 2024 consisting of 155 members who raised a total of $802,743 during the seven week span.   

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