The campus leaders, teachers and staff of Meridiana Elementary can be seen with bright smiles on their faces when speaking of 4th grader Avriana Nunley.
“Avriana is a student that has ambition and drive, coupled with a huge heart,” mentioned Principal Julie Weiss, when speaking of the young student. “She has many of the qualities that we hope for in all of our students.”
You see Avriana can put a smile on your face not only because she is a great public speaker at such a young age, and brightens a room when speaking of ways that she gives back to those in need, but also because her passion for helping others is evident.
With the support of her family and teachers Avriana decided to raise funds for pediatric cancer research, through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. She got the inspiration because in 2014 she witnessed her cousin battle a form of the disease, Rhabdomyosarcoma, at the young age of 4. He passed away at the age of 5. His diagnosis and death left an everlasting impact on Avriana, who is not only raising funds for the cause, but will also become a shavee for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, by shaving her head on March 12th in The Woodlands, Texas.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation website and numerous others, mentions that only 4% of U.S. federal funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research. About 60% of all funding for drug development in adult cancers comes from pharmaceutical companies. For kids? Almost none, because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable, according to the website.
“I just don’t want other kids and families to go through what my cousin went through, which is why I want to raise money for childhood cancer research,” said Avriana.
Avriana first learned of the opportunity to raise funds in this manner after witnessing her grandfather and uncle participate and become shavees themselves. This year she, along with her mother Erica, decided to start their own team.
As mentioned on the website: Because kids with cancer often lose their hair during treatment, shavees for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation show their support by shaving their heads voluntarily, and inspiring friends and family to donate money to support childhood cancer research.
“I’m so proud of Avriana and her commitment to helping others,” mentioned her mother.
Ariana initially set a fundraising goal of $1,000, and in a very short time has surpassed that goal. Now she is striving to raise even more. To advertise her efforts Avriana, with the help of her mother, created a flyer to share that includes information about how to donate online. Individuals interested in supporting her efforts can donate by visiting https://www.stbaldricks.org/donate, then searching and selecting her name.
When asked how she will feel upon returning to school with a shaved head, Avriana excitedly proclaimed, “I will be proud!”
Story by Tomika Gamble