Billerica – Teenagers are rarely without their cell phones. Texting, talking, snapping selfies are almost constant activities.
That’s why “Billerica Cells Out For a Cause” is such a big deal. High School students are pledging to give up their phones for 30 days to raise money for cancer research.
Their inspiration is 7th grader Ian Cadden. Ian plays PeeWee Hockey in Billerica, but for the last year, he has been fighting leukemia.
When the Billerica Memorial High School boys varsity team found out, they made Ian their honorary captain.
“I got to go out and drop the puck for one of their games,” he told WBZ. A moment he describes as “pretty special.”
His dad, Bill Cadden says, “When they first asked him, his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. He couldn’t believe it. He looks up to those guys now like they’re his big brothers.”
Ian still has more than a year of chemotherapy to go. The hockey players wanted to do more to help. It was one of their fathers who suggested giving up cell phones.
On April 17th, the students will turn over their phones to Billerica Police for safe keeping. They are currently soliciting pledges of a dollar a day. The goal is to get 200 students to participate and to raise as much as $120,000 for cancer research and for Ian’s family.
So far 60 students have signed up. At Monday night’s awards ceremony, the organizers tried to recruit more.
“Everything he sacrificed, it’s nothing for us to give up our cell phones for 30 days,” said Brooke O’Leary.
Still, she said it would affect her. “I’m probably going to have to come out of my shell a little more and actually learn how to talk to people.”
“Phones are basically kids’ lives these days,” said Tristan Lavalle. “At home you’re on your phone, you’re checking Twitter and you’re checking Instagram.”
“I’ll have to go back to the old ways, use a land line phone. Maybe a phone booth if they still have those,” said Callahan Johnson.
Still, the students say it’s worth it to make a big difference in a young friend’s life and to show others, their deeds matter.
“Everyone is in some way affected by cancer or leukemia so it’s a big deal and it feels good to give back,” said Lavalle.
Follow @BillericaCells on Twitter.
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