Fessenden School Rallies for Jimmy Fund Let’s Game

Socially distanced Fessenden students gearing up for a tournament game

When The Fessenden School in West Newton, Mass. tragically lost Laura Rutherford, the school’s CFO and beloved member of their community, to multiple myeloma, students knew they wanted to honor her memory by giving back to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. A member of the Parents Association suggested that the Leadership Lab, a student-run program dedicated to fostering leadership skills and self-development, partner with Jimmy Fund Let’s GameSM to support cancer research and care through something the students love: gaming. This new Jimmy Fund initiative empowers the gaming community to raise critical funds for Dana-Farber through streaming and content creation.

Excited by the possibility to do good through gaming, students in the Fessenden Leadership Lab quickly mobilized to organize a week-long, virtual video game tournament with an initial fundraising goal of $2,500. The students formed teams and built a tournament structure to play Quiplash, an online trivia game. Teams advanced in the tournament competing via Zoom or socially distanced in the Fessenden auditorium.

The Fessenden community rallied around their shared cause and raised $6,400, nearly tripling their original goal. The tournament brought the community together in a COVID world that limited togetherness: 64 students worked together in teams of eight via Zoom to compete and raise critical funds.

The tournament was more than just a game for the students of the Fessenden Leadership Lab—it was a way to use their leadership skills to honor and support loved ones that have been impacted by cancer.

“It was awesome to see certain students go above and beyond during the planning process,” commented Karina Olsen, a learning resources tutor at Fessenden. “Students really rose to the challenge in crunch time. Whether it was designing flyers or giving up their recess time for planning purposes, we had several students that exemplified great leadership.”

We are thankful for the Fessenden Leadership Lab for partnering with Jimmy Fund Let’s Game to defy cancer. If you are interested in hosting your own charity tournament, or want to learn more about the Jimmy Fund Let’s Game program and how you can get involved, contact Kenneth Chamberlain at jimmyfundletsgame@dfci.harvard.edu.