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Amherst teens’ cyber-promoted bake sale helps schoolmate

  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>left Jennifer Scott and her daughter Maylene Scott,15, at  their home in Amherst.
  • CAROL LOLLIS<br/>left Jennifer Scott and her daughter Maylene Scott,15, at  their home in Amherst.

Hannah Lebowitz and Hannah Ackerman, both 14, raised $1,500 selling cookies, cupcakes and other baked goods. The treats came flooding in after they posted their intentions on Facebook. They did that once they learned, also via Facebook, that Amherst Regional High sophomore Maylene Scott, whom they had never met, was fighting a rare, aggressive form of the cancer and awaiting her first chemotherapy session. Maylene’s mother, Jennifer Scott, who is single, works at the YWCA in Springfield. She is also raising a 5-year-old son, Gregory.

The girls set up at Sweetser Park, across from the police station at 10 on a Saturday morning in late August. They planned to stay until 2 p.m. and were hoping to raise maybe $100. But people kept showing up with confections, lemonade and donations. Customers streamed by until 4 p.m. when they ended up with $1,500 to hand to the Scotts.

“It was incredibly sweet of them,” said Maylene, who, by now, has finished her third round of chemo and, according to the Facebook page “Help Maylene Scott Beat Cancer,” is doing quite well.

“It was overwhelming to get emotional support from a lot of people I never met before,” she said.

There have been other fundraisers for Maylene. There was a Zumba-thon in September and a Halloween event at the VFW hall. An anonymous donor helped Jennifer Scott pay her health insurance premiums while she was on leave from her job. The mother of another one of Maylene’s classmates handed the girl a $100 bill. Maylene had never met her before either.

“I’m amazed at how supportive my friends are,” Jennifer Scott said back in August. “Half the time I’m in tears because it’s been such an emotional roller coaster, and having these wonderful people is very unexpected.”

It is heartening to see how generously individuals respond when hardship strikes. The two Hannahs said they knew right off that they wanted to do something. “It’s a horrible situation she’s in. ... We knew it was the right thing to do to help out.”

Yes, it was. An old-fashioned bake sale promoted, in contemporary fashion, through cyberspace is an act of kindness that stands out among the local highlights of 2012.

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