Teens skip sleep to help fund cancer research

Posted at 11:46 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-27 12:37:51-05

CINCINNATI -- If you're worried about the future of America, Ellen Flannery thinks you should see the kids she knows.

More than 1,000 teens chose to skip sleep Friday night and raised a total of $146,025 for pediatric cancer research.



The students, from 24 Tri-State high schools, took part in the Night for the Fight fundraiser at the Cintas Center. Money raised went to CancerFree KIDS, Flannery's nonprofit funding pediatric cancer research.

"Even though more kids in this country die from cancer than any other disease, we are doing very little about it, and so we decided as a family we would do something about it," Flannery said.

Some of the teens are cancer survivors themselves. Bethany Byar was diagnosed in April 2014; now she's cancer-free and has been for nearly a year.

"I am not much of a crier," Byar said, "but I kind of get teary-eyed when I see all these people here for me and the survivors, and they want to make a difference, so it's really awesome."

Many, like Tori Luckhaupt, also donated their hair to kids going through the toughest time of their young lives.

"They need hair, and it's just hair to me, and I really feel like I can cut it for them," Luckhaupt said.

CancerFree KIDS has donated more than $2 million to cancer research, Flannery said, with most of it going to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Money raised in this year's Night for the Fight was an increase of 50 percent from last year.