The 2008 season opener of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee will, for the first time, be conducted as a fundraiser for leukemia research.
Leukemia fundraiser Jennifer Smalheiser, working with Pete's Candy Store and spelling bee organizers bobbyblue and Jennifer Dziura, will be collecting a minimum donation of $20 for the Leukemia Bee from all participants and spectators. For each $20 donation, one raffle ticket will be given out. All donations are 100% tax deductible and will be donated directly to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Many sponsors have stepped in with prizes to support the event. Winners of the spelling bee will receive Broadway tickets to LesMiserables, Phantom of the Opera and A Chorus Line. Anyone who donates -- regardless of spelling prowess -- will be eligible for raffle prizes including a membership to New York Sports Club, gift baskets and gift certificates from local stores, and a bar tab from Pete's Candy Store.
Each year, more than 110,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with some form of blood cancer. Over the years, leukemia research has proven to be a window for hope for children - raising the child survival rate for leukemia from 4% in 1960 to over 85% today.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education, and patient services. The Society's mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, while improving the quality of life of patients and their families.