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South Tampa News

Hometown Heroes: Plant sophomores assist cancer pageant


Published:   |   Updated: February 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM

SOUTH TAMPA - Micah Lomel and Emma Frierson don't have many free Saturdays.

Lomel has lacrosse practices and youth group activities to keep up with, and Frierson has volleyball and the Best Buddies club.

But they made time to stop by Saturday's Fashion Funds the Cure event, where they dropped off gift baskets for the 13 young models - all of them battling cancer - who strutted their stuff in the annual fashion show.

"I think the fundraiser is really awesome," Lomel, 15, said. "We just wanted to be involved."

Lomel and Frierson, both sophomores at H.B. Plant High School, spent the past few weeks selling handmade lollipops and soliciting donations to fill the gift baskets, which they gave to the models after the show. Each one was full of candy, presents and gift cards from stores such as Bath and Body Works, Nordstrom, Claire's and Charming Charlie.

They spent two days making about 600 lollipops from melted Jolly Rancher candies and popsicle sticks, said Frierson, 15. They took them to school and sold them for $2 a piece. The girls also went around to local businesses, explaining what they were doing and asking for donations.

"It's kids helping kids with cancer," said Nancy Crane, executive director of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which hosts Fashion Funds the Cure every year. "It's different. It's really special."

Going out and asking people for money isn't easy, Crane said. It's a challenge nonprofits like the Pediatric Cancer Foundation have to deal with every day.

"For sophomores in high school to go out and do that, I'm not only grateful but I'm really respectful of what they've done for our girls," she said.

This was the second year Lomel and Frierson put together the baskets for the models. Last year, they sold lockets and put the packages together as part of their Girl Scouts Silver Award, which requires community service hours and a philanthropic project, Frierson said.

The pair enjoyed it so much that they wanted to do it again this year, she said. They had made the lollipops before and thought they would be easy to make and quick to sell.

"We thought people would probably pay for them, especially if they knew it was for a good cause," Frierson said.

And people did. Students and teachers at Plant High bought them, the girls said, especially around Valentine's Day. Frierson's mom bought a bunch for her little sister to give out at her school, and they sold them at Lomel's sister's lacrosse practices.

"People were very, very kind and bought a lot," Frierson said.

The pair raised more than $1,000, all of which went toward purchasing gift cards and treats for the baskets.

"It took a lot of time, but it was really fun," Lomel said.

This is the eleventh year the Pediatric Cancer Foundation hosted Fashion Funds the Cure, Crane said. Carson Kressley, from TV's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Dancing with the Stars," was the host.

This year's models ranged in age from 5 to 20, and each was escorted down the runway by a local celebrity, Crane said. Forty-three "alumnae" models, who participated in previous shows, also were in the show.

The event was held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tampa International Jet Center. All of the proceeds from Fashion Funds the Cure go toward cancer research.

Ebehrman@Tampatrib.com

(813)259-7691

Twitter: @LizBehrmanTBO

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