NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck High School junior Samantha Ottowell is working to support a cause near and dear to her heart.
Ottowell is participating in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2019 Students of the Year campaign, which raises money to support finding a cure for blood cancers.
“What really drove me to take part in the campaign was continuing to fight for my mom and grandpa, both passed away from leukemia,” Ottowell said. “This campaign allowed me to bring back all the memories I had with my mom, and to this day she is my biggest role model.”
Ottowell’s mother, Trinity Ottowell, died in 2015. Her grandfather, David Ottowell, died in 2003.
Ottowell was nominated to participate in the campaign this year, which is her first time doing so, by her former cheerleading coach Ashley Ford. She formed a team, named Tough for Trinity in honor of her mother, and is seeking donations through the campaign, which runs until March 28.
“I’m hoping to accomplish the goal of providing people with knowledge that cancer is a scary and horrible thing, and that we as humans can only do so much to take that pain away from the ones who have to go through all the treatment and tests. But, if we work together, we can help find a cure to save our loved ones,” Ottowell said.
Ottowell said her team is filled with amazing people and she is thankful for the support she has received, especially from Briana Salemme, Shannon Ottowell, Ashely Mills, Jennifer Hanley, Cathy Cabana, Mark Ottowell, Ford and Kelly Hagen.
People can donate to Tough for Trinity online at events.lls.org/ctwhv/CTWHVSOY19/sottowell. Cash and checks can be mailed to Kelly Hagen, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 3 Landmark Square, Suite 330, Stamford, CT 06901. Checks can be made out to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Samantha Ottowell-Tough for Trinity can be written in the memo.
Also, people can go to Chipotle at 701 Bridgeport Ave in Shelton on March 23 between 4 and 8 p.m. and say they are supporting the cause, and 33 percent of the proceeds from their purchase will be donated to Ottowell’s campaign.
Ottowell hopes to remain involved with the campaign in the future, and as she continues on this year’s campaign, she has a heartfelt message for people.
“Please don’t take life for granted, everyone has something amazing inside them and your life can change any second,” she said. “So please be there for your loved ones and make sure you value your health.”