West Jeff teen surpasses $100,000 in fundraising for cancer fund

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West Jefferson teenager Santino Carnevale recently donated $13,761 to the Head and Neck Cancer Strategic Support Fund at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center/The James. The donation brings his total contributions over the past five years to $105,546.87.

(Posted May 3, 2021)

Even through a pandemic, West Jefferson teenager Santino Carnevale has continued his “Crusade for a Cancer Free World.” Five years into his fundraising effort, he has surpassed the $100,000 mark.

Carnevale recently presented his 2020 installment–a check for $13,761–to the Head and Neck Cancer Strategic Support Fund at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center/The James. The donation brings his total contributions to $105,546.87.

Carnevale created the fund in 2015 when he was 9 years old to honor his father, Michael, who was battling adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare head and neck cancer, and his grandfather, Jim Karnes, who passed away five years earlier from pancreatic cancer. Michael succumbed to his long battle with cancer in 2016, but Carnevale hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to his crusade.

He started with an annual lemonade stand and bake sale and later added an annual Ohio State University football tailgate party in downtown West Jefferson.

The pandemic prevented Carnevale from hosting his lemonade stand, tailgate and other in-person fundraisers in 2020, but his fellow Crusaders–friends, family and the West Jefferson community–still gave generously.

Among individuals who found ways to raise money for the cause despite the pandemic were: Helen Haenszel who coordinated an Anthony Thomas candy bar sale at Ann & Tony’s restaurant and West Jefferson Hardware; Kacey Cavinee who hosted an online Pampered Chef party and donated her host rewards; and Joshua Peters who donated 15 percent of sales of a WJ Rider “W” win flag.

“We’re looking forward to hosting some in-person events later this year,” said Brooke Carnevale, Santino’s mother.

For his efforts over the years, Carnevale received the 2018 Jefferson Award which recognizes individuals who do extraordinary things in their community without expecting anything in return. He also serves as a member of the James Ambassador Society.

To learn more about the “Crusade for a Cancer Free World” and to donate, go to www.go.osu.edu/Santino.

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