By Emma Wolff
At the early age of four, Leo Weber was diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkitt’s Lymphoma. This rare form of lymphoma attacks many vital organs as well as the central nervous system. After 10 months of grueling and intensive chemotherapy, Leo’s treatment was successful. He is now a freshman at Desert Mountain High School and has been cancer free for a decade.
In an effort to help other pediatric cancer patients in need, Leo and his family are working to raise $50,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and nominate Leo for the organization’s Student of the Year award.
“Earning the title of Student of the Year would be such an honor for me and my family. I would be eligible for a $2,500 scholarship but that is not the goal of my project. I want to raise $50,000 to fund a research portfolio of our own and help many others like me,” he says.
Since Leo’s diagnosis, the Weber family has dedicated themselves to helping others in similar situations. They have participated in dozens of activities with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer and research. They have been involved with the Pablove foundation, Cookies for Kid’s Cancer and the Alex Lemonade Stand foundation, all of which focus on fighting childhood cancer.
“During our cancer journey, our community was, in a word, amazing. We were fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who supported us emotionally by visiting at the hospital, they provided meals, and helped with childcare and hospital logistics,” says Joy Weber, Leo’s mom. “The whole pediatric cancer experience compels you to understand that every moment, every day, and every experience is precious.”
To make their $50,000 goal, the Weber family is asking for monetary donations. They are also searching for raffle items such as gift cards or sports memorabilia, and they are organizing several dine-out events at popular North Scottsdale restaurants including Chick-Fil-A, Raising Canes and Lou Malnati’s Pizza.
“Through our fundraising efforts, we want to do all we can to give back to a community that helped us in our time of need. Cancer affects everyone. Cancer outreach is large and our contribution is just a small piece of this battle. Helping, even by just spreading the word, takes five minutes and can make a big difference. It’s time to beat cancer once and for all,” Joy adds.
To donate to Leo’s fundraiser, go to tinyurl.com/MaddieWeberdonate. To find more information about Leo and his cause, follow along on Instagram @teamcurezona or TikTok @llscurezona. The Weber family also has a community Facebook group called “LLS – Team CUREzona Fundraising Page,” which provides more information and other ways to donate to the cause.