Friendship valley students organize “Pay to Play” fundraiser for MLD

Fourth grade Gifted and Talented students at Friendship Valley Elementary School have organized a “Pay to Play” fundraiser to raise money for research for MLD (Metachromatic Leukodystrophy). Students can help by donating money and get to play their favorite physical education games during the week of June 6, 2016. The goal is to increase awareness of this little-known disease and to raise at least $2,000.

The fundraiser was inspired by Greg Bennett, a 20 year-old former student at Friendship Valley who has been diagnosed with the disease, which involves degeneration in the white matter of the brain and central nervous system. Greg’s sister also attended Friendship Valley and his mother was a volunteer at the school. Since the family gave so much to the school, the students wanted to give back.

Gifted and Talented teacher Ivy Allgeier presented information about Greg and the disease to the students, who then researched the disease and invited Greg to come in and answer their questions. They decided to include athletics in the fundraiser because Greg needs to stay active to fight the disease. In order to educate all of the students at the school, Allgeier divided the students into three groups and made videos for the different grade levels. Students also wrote morning announcements encouraging students to participate in the fundraiser.

If the students reach their goal of raising $2,000, Allgeier will shave her head. She has issued a “double dare” to the students to raise $4,000. If they are successful, she will not only have her head shaved, but will be duct taped to the wall as well. In addition, Greg would very much like to be a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Any members of the community who would like to make a donation may send a check made out to F.V.E. and marked “Pay to Play” to the school at 1100 Gist Road, Westminster, MD 21157.