Peek and Tyler Cashman with the funds raised from Penny Wars

Sadie Peek, one of U.S. Pain’s pediatric pain warriors, is proof that one young person really can have an impact on the world. Last year, as a junior at St. Bernard School in Uncasville, CT, she had a great idea: setting up a fundraiser for U.S. Pain that would allow classes to compete against each other—even undermine each other—to raise donations. “Penny Wars on Pain” was born.

“Penny Wars on Pain” uses a novel approach to raising money. Like many other fundraisers, there’s a prize for the class that raises the most money (in this case, the winners celebrated with a donut party); unlike most other fundraisers, there’s an element of sabotage in play. The challenge’s basis is to raise the greatest amount of money using the smallest possible denominations of coins. Each class has a donation box, and each penny added by a student is a positive point for his or her class. The twist is that students then can sabotage the other classes by dropping denominations larger than a penny into other classes’ bins, which counts for negative points for the class receiving them. For instance, if you drop $1? That’s negative 100 points.

“While U.S. Pain is thrilled to be involved with the fundraiser, the idea and initiative were all Sadie; she decided she wanted to do it and then made it happen,” says Casey Cashman, director of fundraising. “It’s through the efforts of people like Sadie that we’re able to offer support, advocacy, information, and community for Americans of all ages who cope with chronic pain or health conditions.”

Sadie was diagnosed at age 12 with Ehler’s-Danlos syndrome, dysautonomia, and intractable headaches. Her fundraiser raised almost $400 towards supporting new and ongoing activities of the U.S. Pain Foundation Pediatric Pain Warrior Program, which provides services and resources for children with chronic pain.

Are you interested in holding a fundraiser like this in your own school? Contact fundraising@uspainfoundation.org for info and assistance in holding this and any other fundraiser.