February 3, 2012
Susan Banovetz | Director of External Affairs | 218 726-6141| email@example.com
Christiana Kapsner | UMD Public Relations Assistant | 218 726-8830 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Campus and Community Connection
On Saturday, January 21, 2012, three UMD students banded together to help at a fundraising event at the College of St. Scholastica. The benefit, "Something for Annika", included a spaghetti dinner and blood drive for six-year old Annika Linberg, who was diagnosed with Acute promyelocytic Leukemia. The three UMD students, Jenelle Bartelt, Bailey Boots, and Steve Horner, worked with UMD faculty to organize the costumes, ideas, and goals of their participation.
"We decided to create these characters who would play with the children and sing songs," said UMD sophomore theater major Bailey Boots. "I was Rosebud the Sprite, Jenelle Bartelt was Isabel the puppet, and Steve Horner was Horton the elephant. We played a game of follow the leader with the children. The parents and children were super appreciative and loved our characters."
When Boots had received a Facebook message from UMD student Steve Horner, who was reaching out to the university campus for volunteers for the event, Boots knew she wanted to be involved. "When I heard it was for Annika, a girl with cancer," said Boots. "It went from a could moment to a should moment. The event was a very special cause. I think it's really important to help others out, even if you can't volunteer your time or money, you can donate blood or bone marrow. Every little bit counts."
UMD Department of Theatre Associate Professor Beth Cash contacted Laura Piotrowski, the UMD costume shop supervisor. Piotrowski agreed to lend costumes to the theatre students, and she helped Horner, Boots, and Bartelt select the costumes that would be appropriate for the fundraiser.
"I was really excited to help," said Bartelt. "When I was acting at the benefit, I loved the sense of community, true community, in a room that was filled with all different people: from strangers to classmates to church members to Annika's family. They were all there to support Annika. It was an amazing chance to serve. When given a chance like this, do it, because it means the world to the person you are doing it for. Everyone should volunteer like this, because it not only makes you feel great, but you're also using your talents and gifts to help someone."
The event concluded with a silent auction and between Saturday and Sunday, there were 55 blood donors and over $10,000 raised through t-shirt sales alone.
Additional Information about Annika Linberg
Annika Linberg was only three years old when she was first diagnosed with Acute promyelocytic Leukemia (APL), which is rarely found in children. She relapsed on August 4th 2011 after she had completed her treatment and was in remission for 15 months. When Linberg needed a marrow transplant her little sister, Katy helped save her life with the stem cells from her cord blood. Linberg's parents saved it hoping that it would be a match for their daughter marrow.