Upstate elementary student uses class project to help cancer patients

A 9-year-old’s determination turned her simple classroom assignment into a way to help save lives.

For a 3rd grader, family and teachers say Adain Tidwell has one big heart. She’s a student in Megan Sumner’s class at Springfield Elementary in Greenwood.

“I feel like I really did make a change and helped other people in this world besides me,” Adain said.

“She has made a difference in my life just showing how much she can care about something,” Sumner said.

After she lost a family member to cancer, Adain knew she needed to do something to help people with a similar diagnosis. Her mom tells us for a long time, she wanted to set up a lemonade stand to raise money.

“I don’t want that to happen to other people,” she explained.

“It has been really exciting and it makes my heart happy because she has such passion about something,” Sumner added.

She started a fundraising campaign she called the “50 Cents or More” project. She asked anyone at her school to put change in her jar, with pink breast cancer awareness ribbons on it, to give to a local cancer center.

Still0302_00001“Some couldn’t bring in that much, so I just said you don’t have to bring in 50 cents. Just bring in whatever you can,” she said.

The idea began in the classroom with an assignment called the “Expert Project”. Her teacher asked the class to research one topic and learn as much as they could to become an expert. Then every student presented them to the class.

Students made creative posters and displays showcasing their topic. But Adain had to take it a step further.

“The kids could research anything at home that they were interested in or wanted to learn about. She started researching cancer and just flew from there,” Sumner recalled.

Her teacher and the school thought it was a great idea. She appeared on the school’s daily news to announce the fundraiser.

In all, she raised around $127. Then Wednesday, we were there as she took the check to the Self Regional Cancer Center. Employees accepted the donation and told her it was a big help. The money might go to help someone who can’t afford their cancer treatments.

“Dream big. You don’t have to think inside the box,” Adain added.  “Just do what your heart wants.”

It was a small donation to make a world of difference for someone in need. As for Adain, she says her efforts don’t stop here. She plans on finding another way to raise even more for cancer awareness.


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