Escanaba woman honors grandmother with ‘penny wars’ for brain cancer research

ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) – Elementary school children in Escanaba will soon have the chance to raise money for brain cancer research.

Maddie Challier has been raising money for brain cancer research since her grandmother died from the disease when she was nine-years-old. Challier wants to bring awareness to this often overlooked form of cancer.

This year, she is enlisting the help of students from Lemmer Elementary and Escanaba Upper Elementary schools. The kids will be collecting as much spare change as they can the week of April 15 – 19.

“You hear a lot about breast cancer and my grandma died from brain cancer,” said Challier. “At nine years old, I was thinking, you know, what the heck my grandma died from brain cancer like nobody’s talking about this one. There’s so many kinds of cancers and it’s heartbreaking, but this was the cancer that affected me and my family. This was the one that I want to try to help fund research for.”

Each class will get a jar to hold collect their donations. They’ll have that week to fundraise and then at the end of the week, organizers count the change and figure out which class raised the most money at each school.

“Graciously Domino’s here in Escanaba, and Bink’s Coca-Cola have offered to donate the pizzas and drinks for those two winning classes,” said Challier. “We’ve been able to get some community participation this year. I like to think that hopefully, some kids can take away that they can attend and try to make a change with whatever tragedy and things happen in their life there. You’re never too small. You can whatever change you’ve got, like bring it in. Try to win for your class.”

Funds raised will go to Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center in Marquette, where Challier’s grandmother received most of her care.

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