Near the end of January, East Elementary second-grade student, Aleck Jones, surprised his teacher when he donated $120, all the money he had been saving at home, to his school’s Pennies for Patients fundraiser.

Each class at East Elementary participates in the annual fundraiser that benefits cancer patients and lymphoma research with the top two classes receiving a pizza party.

“It is all of his savings,” said Jones’ teacher, Juli Frank. “I'm so proud of him for having such a generous heart.”

Both Frank and East Elementary Principal, Nanda Wilbourn were excited to see how much Jones was giving, but still wanted to make sure Jones’ parents knew the amount he was donating.

“We called and spoke to his parents to be sure,” said Wilbourn. “They said he usually spends his money pretty quickly, but this time he was saving, and after he had watched the presentation at the school that spoke about how the money is used for research, and how it helps those who deal with cancer and chemotherapy, he said he wanted to give his savings to help.”

When interviewed, Jones smiled and explained further. “We have a can that we save change and money in,” said Jones, adding that he usually saves up for toys, but that he couldn’t think of anything better to spend it on. “It goes to little kids that have cancer.”

“It’s amazing to see conviction like that in such a young student,” noted Wilbourn. “I talked to him and wanted him to understand that the reason we make a big deal about it and do a story isn’t because he gave all his money, it’s because sometimes when you give it inspires others.”

Jones’ donation brought his class’s donation up to $401.25, giving them the second highest total, coming in just under Mrs. Brownlee’s class total of $500.91. The overall Pennies for Patients donation from East Elementary totaled $2,252.68.