RINDGE — Nearly four years after battling leukemia, a Conant High School student is helping those still fighting.
Lacey Martin, now 14, was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2015, and underwent chemotherapy for eight months at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.
She also had a bone marrow transplant in December 2015 — with a donation from her brother Brandon — after which she needed to spend nearly two months at Boston Children’s Hospital in semi-isolation. Her immune system was too weak to be around others, and getting even a cold could pose a threat.
Lacey Martin admits she sometimes gets a little tired of hearing how brave and strong she is.
The Rindge resident was out of the hospital and in remission by March 2016, and was back to school that fall as a 6th-grader.
Now a freshman, Lacey is fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s New England chapter.
“I just know how hard it is to go through this kind of stuff and how hard financially it can be, and mentally,” she said.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is dedicated to curing blood cancer, as well as improving the quality of life for patients and families, according to the organization.
Lacey is participating in the society’s seven-week Student of the Year Campaign, which began on Jan. 24, as part of a team with eight of her loved ones.
The team members are her mother, Crystal Martin; her brothers, Cody and Brandon Martin; grandmother Brenda Harris; aunt Tina Harris; her dad’s girlfriend, Steff Perham; Cody’s girlfriend, Stormie Cuddihee; and Crystal’s boyfriend, Jamie Tallman.
The team that raises the most money by March 14 — announced at a black-tie event in Watertown, Mass. — earns the title of Student of the Year and a $2,500 scholarship.
“It’s not a big prize they are going for, but these kids are raising tens of thousands of dollars each,” Crystal said.
Lacey’s fundraising team has been heading to local businesses asking for donations for the past three weeks, with a group goal of $25,000. As of Monday night, they had raised $15,780.
The funds are put toward research projects and supporting patients undergoing treatment, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Lacey still has check-ups every six months in Boston, plus occasional appointments for specialized testing, to make sure she’s still in the clear.
Aside from that, her life is back to normal. She enjoys video games and playing in the woods, and spends a good chunk of her free time volunteering at the Monadnock Humane Society in North Swanzey.
And she said she’s doing well in school — though, like most teenagers, she joked that she has days when she debates going.
But all in all, things are good, so she said she wants to give back to those who need it.
“I want to be a part of helping them find more cures and helping people,” Lacey said.
To donate to the Student of the Year campaign, visit www.studentsoftheyear.org/find-a-candidate and type in the candidate of your choice. Checks can also be sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at 70 Walnut St., Suite 301, Wellesley, Mass. 02481, with Lacey Martin in the memo line.