Students of the Year Houston

Payton Szabo | Team Children's Cancer Crushers

Payton's Students of the Year Fundraiser

Jan 12, 2022

Welcome to my fundraising page.

Every year, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Gulf Coast Chapter nominates and carefully selects candidates to run for "Student of the Year," a philanthropic leadership development program for high school students. This year, I am honored to say that I have been selected as a candidate to lead a campaign and raise money for an organization that I believe makes a huge difference—LLS. I’m learning valuable leadership skills by building a diverse team, organizing a letter campaign, seeking corporate sponsors, and hosting fundraising events. 

Our team’s goal is to raise $100,000 between January 13th and March 5, 2022. If we can raise this amount of money, we will have the opportunity to link our team’s name to a cutting-edge LLS-funded research initiative, The LLS Children’s Initiative, in honor of my friends Christian Gerber and Carson Thelen (below), both of whom have fought pediatric cancer. 

This is my friend, Carson Thelen. I grew up with Carson’s sister and became close with the entire family over the last 10 years. Right before Carson’s 17th birthday, he was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma. For the next 450 days, Carson endured intensive treatments, promoted awareness and started his own non-profit called Carson Confronts Cancer. After a very brave and deeply faithful battle, Carson Lee Thelen passed away on August 12, 2021, at the tender age of 18.

My obvious passion is finding a cure for kids like Carson. The unfortunate truth is that only four treatments have been approved in the last 40 years to fight childhood cancer. Together, we can do better for Christian, Carson, and all childhood cancer patients. 

Why blood cancer research? Because blood is easily accessible, making research less complicated and more efficient than other research efforts. This means that many other types of cancers are also positively impacted by the funds raised and the research LLS conducts. Breast cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, and ovarian cancer are just a few of the many cancers that have benefited from blood cancer research. In fact, 40% of all new cancer therapies approved by the FDA since 2000 are blood cancer therapies. Currently, LLS is funding 11 researchers from MD Anderson and Baylor College of Medicine, with a budget of over $11.7 million. I’m invested because I truly believe that blood cancer research is a gateway to finding treatments and cures for all types of cancer. I am determined to make a difference.

Thank you for your consideration, Payton Szabo.

Team: Children’s Cancer Crushers





  • Payton Szabo

    So excited to kick this campaign off by being one of the first to donate and support our team on our mission towards $100,000!

  • Laurie Black

    Payton - Beautiful girl, it gives me great pleasure to make this donation to your campaign in honor of your dear friend Carson Thelen. Your mom frequently shared with me his journey to battle this awful disease and I was so saddened to hear about his loss. Your mom is one of the most giving and charitable people I know and it makes my heart so full to see you follow in her footsteps! Best of luck to you and your campaign. You are making a difference and your mom's legacy of giving is living on through you and that's a great thing to see! Thank you Payton for taking on such a great cause and being a servant leader!

  • Thom and Mary Sutton

    Great work, Payton!

  • Richard Joseph crill

    Strong work Peyton!

  • Quinn Szabo

    So proud of you Payton- your sister Quinn

  • Tony and Angels Bahu

    Go Payton!!! Love you and Your Beautiful Family. Best of Luck to bring home the Championship and Crush this Disease! Love, Tony & Angela Bahu

  • Dawn Edwards

    So proud of you, Payton!

  • Tommie Sledge

    Keep up the great work Payton! I love supporting young people changing the world.

  • Brian King

    Glad to donate to a great cause! And honor to support students like Payton Szabo who are helping to raise awareness for items like this!

  • Tracie Morden

    Good luck!

  • Erika Shows

    Payton I am so proud of you. Keep up the good work. ❤️

  • Martin Waugh

    Well done Payton!

  • Anonymous

    For Payton Szabo's team. Awesome Payton. Congrats for being selected. 🎉🥳

  • The Kelly Family

    Payton Szabo

  • Anonymous

    Good luck Payton ! God bless you in your endeavors !

  • Whittney Bednarz

    Such a needed and important role, wonderful work, Payton❤️

  • Alisa Standley

    You’ve got this Payton!! You have your Momma’s passionate heart.

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