Deep Family Ties at Prairie Elementary School Fundraiser
In a beautiful twist of fate, this month Michael Gustafson’s cousin, Michael, helped fundraise for the Swifty Foundation as a second grader at Prairie Elementary School in Naperville, Illinois.
The Swifty Foundation has deep connections with Prairie Elementary. Patti Gustafson, Michael’s mom, grew up in Naperville and went there for kindergarten through fourth grade. When it was time to do her student teaching observation hours… yup, back to Prairie! Patti’s high school friend, Jeni Rogers, now teaches at Prairie and helps run the school’s annual Coin Wars competition to raise money for the Swifty Foundation. And Patti’s sister used to be Mrs. Roger’s classroom assistant. So many connections…
Mikey Gustafson passed away from medulloblastoma, a rare and aggressive brain cancer, at just 15 years old. Before his death he created the Swifty Foundation, Gift from a Child’s parent organization, to fund research for pediatric brain cancer.
Every year students at Prairie run a Coin Wars competition. Fourth and fifth graders on the Student Council organize the event. They make posters, go to classes to announce the campaign, and count the money. Each class brings in as many coins/donations for the Swifty Foundation as they can and the two classes that raise the most money are selected as winners. This year Patti was able to return to her elementary school during the competition to support her nephew and her son.
This year Prairie Elementary broke all previous records and raised $5227.99 for Swifty. One hundred percent of the money raised will fund pediatric brain cancer research. Two classrooms came out on top, but the real winner here is childhood cancer research!
We are so grateful to the families and staff of this big-hearted, generous school. Thank you Prairie Elementary for all your hard work raising money and awareness for childhood with brain cancer!