AHS Students Make Big Donation to Relay for Life

Members of Auburn High School HOSA present a donation to local Relay for Life leader Randy Causey. From left to right: HOSA sponsor Laurie Osborne, Delacey Wilkerson, Brady O’Donnell, Jillian Breland, HOSA President Caroline Greathouse, Randy Causey, Tina Qin, Suyeon Shin, AHS Principal Shannon Pignato.




Lee County Relay for Life recently took a big step closer to this year’s fundraising goal, thanks to the efforts of a group of high school students.

Just as they have in years past, students in Auburn High School’s HOSA, or Future Health Professionals organization, have spent the last several months raising money as a team for the local Relay for Life.

On Feb. 15, they presented a $9,000 check to local Relay for Life leader Randy Causey.

“What you do is real important, and we thank you so much for doing it,” he told the students.

The donation accounts for nearly 10% of Lee County Relay for Life’s overall fundraising goal for 2023.

Laurie Osborne, Auburn High School health science teacher, has been the HOSA sponsor since 2009. The students wanted to support a nonprofit affiliated with the American Cancer Society, so they settled on Relay for Life. That year, the Auburn High team started out with only five members and raised about $500. Last year, the team had about 30 members and raised over $10,000.

“Cancer affects all of us in some capacity,” said Caroline Greathouse, president of Auburn’s HOSA. “Everyone knows someone either indirectly or directly who has been impacted by the disease, so being able to raise money in hopes of one day finding a cure is very rewarding for us, especially since most of us HOSA members aspire to work in health care someday.”

Like many of the student members, Osborne said she got involved with the cause because of a personal connection to cancer.

“My dad had colon cancer, and my mom is a breast cancer survivor, so that was kind of my reason for doing this,” she said.

Causey said Auburn High School’s Relay for Life team is one of the strongest in terms of fundraising.

“When I look and see these are 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids raising this kind of money … it’s moving,” Causey said.

Even though Osborne supervises the club, she was quick to give all the credit to the students. Osborne said the students work on and off campus throughout the year to raise money for Lee County Relay for Life, and the goal each year is to raise at least $1,000 more than the previous year.

HOSA students make baked goods, collect donated items and even host “Casual for a Cure” in which teachers and support staff can donate $100 to wear jeans on Wednesdays all year. The students also hold fundraisers like the annual “Pink Out” and “Purple Out” that also serve to raise awareness of cancer.

The students named the longstanding “Pink Out” as one of their favorite fundraisers — despite all the planning that goes into it.

“We’ve been doing Pink Out … for the last 20-something years,” said HOSA member Brady O’Donnell. “We do that at a football game every fall.”

Students design “Pink Out” T-shirts in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and then sell those T-shirts and other pink items at a home football game to raise money for Relay for Life. Student and faculty cancer survivors are also recognized at the Pink Out football game.

O’Donnell said HOSA also started holding a similar “Purple Out” fundraiser during spring sports.

A link for anyone to donate online remains active year round as well.

“Anything that we can do to raise money and kind of give back, that’s our goal — that’s what we try to do,” O’Donnell said.

To donate online on behalf of the Auburn HOSA team, visit www.secure.acsevents.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=relay_donate_now and search “Auburn High School – HOSA.”


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