Streetsboro -- Brandy Spreitzer, her daughter Kiely, and the city of Streetsboro have made a big difference in the move to collect pop can tabs to benefit Akron's Ronald McDonald House.
In February 2011, Brandy's 21-month-old nephew, Ryland Hodge, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. His baby sister, Jocelyn, also was diagnosed with a brain tumor in March of 2012. She was 10 months old at the time. Both children have been through many surgeries and chemotherapy treatments since they were diagnosed.
"Ryland is now cancer free," said Brandy. "Jocelyn is still in remission, so we can't say she's cancer free, but there are no signs of tumors."
Ryland and Jocelyn spent time at the Ronald McDonald House during their bout with cancer when Kiely was in third grade.
Through the experience, the Spreitzers learned about a pop can tab fundraiser that could benefit Ronald McDonald House.
"The Ronald McDonald House saves up to 400 pounds of pop can tabs at a time," said Meri Skiera of Ronald McDonald House.
The pop can tabs are transported to PSC Metals where the Ronald McDonald House cashes them in.
One pound is about 1,280 pop can tabs. Prices fluctuate from 45 to 75 cents per pound, according to Skiera.
Money from the tab donation is used to buy items for the families who stay at Ronald McDonald House while their children are undergoing medical treatment for cancer and other serious diseases.
Two years ago, Kiely's third-grade teacher at Campus Elementary, Marisa Cortez, helped Kiely get the effort started when Kiely was her student.
"Kiely suggested collecting pop tabs and asked if we could get the whole classroom involved and of course I jumped on it," said Cortez. "It is a great way for kids to get involved. It does not have to be the parents doing the work and the kids can feel good about making a difference."
Since then, the pop can tab collection has taken off. Last year, the effort collected approximately 850,000 pop tabs. So far there are over a million this year, said Spreitzer.
That equates to a donation to Ronald McDonald House of between about $640 and nearly $1,100 for those two years, depending on the price per pound of the tabs.
Bill Basel, the new principal at Defer Intermediate School said he is happy to jump on board the pop tab project. He will be putting collection boxes in every classroom and sending home flyers with the students.
Allen's Alloys, a scrap yard accepting a variety of metals in Streetsboro, has agreed to donate all of its pop can tabs to Kiely's effort. According to Spreitzer, Allen Alloys has a 50-gallon barrel of pop tabs so far.
Kiely, 10, is now in the fifth grade.
"I feel that collecting pop tabs is a big help to the Ronald McDonald House because of how they helped my cousins and our family," said Kiely. "It's kind of my way to give back for all of their help."
Kiely would like to thank everyone who has donated and collected for them. The Spreitzers feel that this effort also helps spread awareness for childhood cancer.
Kiely has started a Facebook page for her effort, "Giving Back Through The World Of Pop Tabs."
"This was something that originally started at Campus Elementary that moved on to all of Streetsboro," said Spreitzer. "Now we receive collections from all over Portage County."
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