Each year Angela Lowhorn's kindergarten class at River Ridge Elementary School draws snowflakes modeled after the artwork in the book Robert's Snowflakes by Grace Lin and Robert Mercer.
Lowhorn originally bought the book, which donates 100 percent of its royalties to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, because she liked the art. She also uses the project to encourage her kindergartners to think about science and research.
This year, Lowhorn's 5- and 6-year-old pupils took the project to another level. They wanted to sell their snowflakes and raise money for cancer research.
The kindergartners earned $153 for the American Cancer Society in honor of breast cancer patient Vicki Gallahue, the mother of three River Ridge pupils and one River Ridge alumnus, and in memory of Marjorie Kilchenstein, the mother of three River Ridge pupils, who lost her battle with cancer in December.
Gallahue visited Lowhorn's class Jan. 25. She shared her story with the kindergartners, answered their questions and gave them pencils, pins and stickers in appreciation of their support.
The children also took Gallahue into the hallway to show her their snowflakes, each one marked with a red "sold" tag.
"It blew me away that they would even think to do something like this. We're so bad about training kids to do things for a reward," Gallahue said. "But this wasn't for them. This was just out of the kindness of their little hearts.
"I don't think they have any idea how much good they can do."
Lowhorn, whose mother is a cancer survivor, also was impressed that the children came up with the idea of selling the snowflakes themselves.
"They do care about other people and I think we should encourage that," said Lowhorn.
The kindergartners asked Gallahue numerous questions: How did you get cancer? How does the medicine you take make you healthier?
Gallahue answered each one. She also said she drew a lot of her strength from her family and from the staff and children at River Ridge.
"You can be a little person and make a big difference," she said.
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