We read a great story from The Daily Local News, a newspaper in West Chester, Pennsylvania, about 13 year old Emily Kawalek making a difference for the 232,340 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
In January 2013, Emily began collecting pennies everywhere she went as part of her project called, Pink Pennies. She was inspired by a statistic she had heard which said that 232,340 women would be diagnosed with breast cancer each year. She decided to collect 232,340 pennies during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – one for each woman in that statistic – and donate the proceeds to Susan G. Komen Philadelphia.
She took on this project because breast cancer has affected on her own family. Her two great-grandmothers, Evelyn and Helen, both passed away as a result of the disease. She was also inspired by National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which takes place in October.
While her goal was to collect one penny for each woman who would be diagnosed in 2013, in less than a month Kawalek had managed to raise over 236,000 pennies from her school, her friends and family, and her synagogue, Kesher Israel in West Chester. By October, Kawalek’s pennies added up to $2,360. Today, that number has grown to $2,500.
“Seeing all the pennies I have collected and rolled is upsetting because I know each one is representing someone who has or will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of the year,” said Emily. “I know that it is going to help find a cure for breast cancer one day,” she said. From Kesher Israel in West Chester, to her school’s office and lunchroom, to Hymies deli in Bala Cynwyd, and more, Emily’s Pink Pennies jars – including the one she carries with her anywhere and everywhere – can be seen all over her community… filling up over and over again.
In October, the Susan B. Komen Foundation Philadelphia chapter awarded Emily their Pink Ribbon of the Month for her contribution to the organization.
Elaine Grobman, CEO, Komen Philadelphia and Emily
That month, Kawalek announced her decision to continue collecting every day of the year, rather than only in October.
We congratulate Emily for her terrific Mitzvah Project!