When Michael Barcelo was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 3 years-old, his friends and classmates at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School rallied to his aid and helped raise money for people who were stricken with the deadly disease.
Throughout the years, the same group of high-school students who now attend Monsignor Pace High and Our Lady of the Lourdes Academy, are still collecting money for a worthy cause and participating in the annual American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Miami Lakes.
Now 15 years-old, Michael and the group eight kids are planning their latest fund-raiser, a carwash on Sunday, March 22 next to McDonalds near N.W. 67th Avenue and the Palmetto Expressway, hoping to collect more funds than in previous years for the Miami Lakes event scheduled for Saturday, May 2 at Miami Lakes Optimist Park.
So far, the group has raised $1,000.
But for the first time, the group is doing the drive on their own this year.
In the previous years, their parents helped them with their fundraising activities.
They enjoyed success during a fundraising event at Menchies in Miami Lakes, where they helped sell ice cream and frozen yogurt, and 20 percent of the sales went to the group for their efforts.
“We are expecting to raise a lot of money this year,” said Christina Franco, who attends Our Lady of the Lourdes Academy. “We are excited to have formed the group for a great cause.”
Franco’s team is called Mooooo.
During the Relay for Life event, the students will participate in an overnight community fundraising walk, in which teams of people will camp out around a track and members of each team take turns walking around the track.
Each member of team Mooooo will bring a cancer patient to the event.
Following his cancer diagnoses, Barcelo served as honorary chairperson for the Miami Lakes Relay for Life event on two occasions.
Barcelo’s mother, Maria Barcelo said her son endured rigorous chemotherapy to cure his disease and he wanted to start a group, with the assistance of their parents, to help raise money for cancer research.
“He wanted other people to avoid what he went through,” she said. “This is wonderful group of kids and their parents support them,” she said. “It’s a happy occasion but they are taking it very seriously.”