By: Kristen Hegel
In Baxter Village last week, a car wash was held to raise money for Leukemia research. It wasn’t a randomly picked fundraiser but rather a show of support for a friend. After hearing news that a fellow Girl Scout was diagnosed with Leukemia, Stephanie Smith and her friend Jordan Taylor, both eighth-grade students at Springfield Middle School, got to work on planning a car wash to benefit the Levine’s Children Hospital.
“It was hard news to hear, my friends helped a lot. They encouraged me to do it,” Smith said. Not only did her friends encourage her, but Taylor, along with fellow eighth-graders Danielle Lyons, Caroline Gesell, Abby Merritt and Grayson Skidmore, and Smith’s eight-year-old brother, Joey, all helped made the fundraiser a success.
“She asked us to donate our parking lot, water, supplies and lunch for her friends and she did the rest,” Greg Smith, Smiths’s father, a local business owner, said. The girls made flyers and handed them out at school and in their neighborhoods. They also hung up posters. “I felt like it was the right thing to do because we knew her, it’s something God called on me to do. I figured the car wash was an easy thing to do at the last second. I wanted to do something as soon as I got the news,” Smith explained.
The car wash was promoted as free with any donation accepted and within five hours, the event pulled in roughly $300. “It was really busy. Cars were in and out, sometimes they were washing three cars at once,” Greg Smith said. “I was surprised, so was Stephanie.” The total amount raised exceeded Smith’s expectations. She said she was grateful for every penny.
The girls are donating all the proceeds to the Levine Children’s Hospital for the Carolina’s Kids Cancer Research Coalition in their friend’s name. The Carolina’s Kids Cancer Research Coalition helps fight juvenile cancer by providing funds for clinical trials. The name of Smith’s friend, now being treated at Levine Children’s Hospital, is not disclosed to protect her privacy. News of the car wash reached the girl’s father and said he is very thankful for the girls’ thoughtfulness.
Smith, who just turned 13, took time out of her birthday weekend to host the car wash. The event turned into her birthday celebration, and Smith’s parents took her and her friends out for a swim and cake. “Girl Scouts has definitely shaped her. She’s a civic-mined girl, we’ve raised her well, but it’s reinforced by Scouts,” Greg Smith said about his daughter.
Smith also plans on doing more. “I want to keep helping raising money and contribute,” she said. “I’d also like to see the community be involved and help too.”