New Mexico 4-H members have spent the last six months raising money for the University of New Mexico Cancer Center, and will present a $10,000 check to the Center on Friday, September 18 at 3:30 p.m. at the New Mexico State Fair in the 4-H Exhibit Hall.
“The generosity of these students and their commitment to furthering our mission of providing superb cancer care to every New Mexican is overwhelming,” said Dr. Cheryl Willman, Director and CEO of the UNM Cancer Center. “We are so honored by this incredible gift, and commend these young people for ‘making the best better’. They are truly an asset to our state, and we are very proud to be associated with them.”
During the State 4-H Leadership Conference earlier this year, 4-H members determined that they wanted to raise funds for the UNM Cancer Center. “I think everyone has had someone in their life who has been affected by cancer, so it was a really good cause to motivate everyone,” said Georgia Mitchell, the 16-year-old 4-H Vice-President for New Mexico. “We didn’t want citizens of New Mexico to have to go outside the state to receive excellent cancer care.”
4-H members from 17 different counties across the state competed with one another to raise donations through a variety of fundraisers such as bake auctions, car washes, raffles and enchilada dinners. Doña Ana County brought in the most funds with a $1,351 donation. As a reward for being the top earner, their 4-H Program will receive three percent of funds raised to further their own programs.
“The State 4-H Office was very impressed by the amount of money raised by the youth,” said Amy Zemler, State 4-H Youth Activity Specialist. “It was a great experience to see youth plan and execute this fundraiser. They did an excellent job and the fundraiser came together very well.”
The funds will be donated to the UNM Cancer Center’s capital campaign, which supports the new 206,000 square foot UNM Cancer Treatment and Clinical Research Facility. The spacious new facility opened on August 31, 2009 in Albuquerque.
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of the State of New Mexico, and one of only 65 National Cancer Institute designated cancer centers in the nation. It is home to 85 board-certified oncology physicians representing every cancer specialty and more than 120 research scientists hailing from such prestigious institutions as M.D. Anderson, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic.
The 4-H youth development program is a dynamic non-formal education program. Four-H provides opportunities to learn life skills, gain knowledge while having fun, and make contributions in such areas as environmental education, community service, and current youth issues. The 4-H program is dedicated to providing opportunities for young people to develop leadership and management skills, positive self-esteem, effective communication skills, a solid sense of personal responsibility and the ability to make sound decisions. The life-skills learned in 4-H enable youth to become productive, well-informed, self-reliant responsible adults.