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No capping expectations

Forestville junior’s efforts drive Roswell donations

Submitted photo Brayden Smith and his mom, Karen, pose for a photo.

FORESTVILLE — Brayden Smith, a Forestville Central School junior, is working toward an impressive goal. For the last six years, Smith has been progressively raising money for Roswell Park’s cancer research, and after his fundraiser this year, has raised almost $20,000 in those six years though.

With his senior year on the horizon, Smith hopes to hit $25,000 raised when his high school tenure is all said and done.

Smith’s fundraising efforts came from small beginnings, when Forestville did their yearly “Bald for Bucks” event at school. At the time, Smith just wanted one of the tee shirts that are given as part of the program. From there though, Smith’s fundraising efforts took off.

“I realized how good the cause was and I realized I wanted to carry it on,” Smith said. “I’ve spent six years doing that, and four of them actually fundraising.”

Once Smith got to high school, he wanted to find a different avenue for his fundraising to get him closer to his goal, which was originally $20,000 by the time he graduated. Because of that, he’s found his own path to take toward that goal.

Submitted photo Brayden Smith stands in front of a truck used to collect cans and bottles.

Smith was accepted as a member of Roswell’s Street Team, which is a group of teams around Western New York who all do fundraisers together. Members are assigned a yearly fundraiser. When figuring out the fundraiser he wanted to do, Smith turned to something he had done when he was younger.

“Everyone does their own thing and it’s really whatever way you think you can raise the most money for cancer research,” Smith said. “When I was a kid, we did a can drive for football to raise money for equipment and that always went well. I figured I’d try it again and it worked out really well, better than it did for football.”

During his fundraiser this past year, Smith collected 30,000 cans and bottles, turning that into over $3,000 toward his goal. He raised an additional $1,400 through Ride for Roswell, which is part of his Street Team, for a total of $46,000 this year. Currently, he sits at a total of $19,600 toward his $25,000 goal.

“Through hard work and a lot of fundraising, I think I’ll be able to do it,” Smith said.

Smith has a lot of people to thank for his fundraising success. He knows he wouldn’t be anywhere without the support and generosity his friends and family have given him through the process. Additionally, Penske has donated trucks to him in order to transport all the bottles and cans he’s collected over the years. But through Smiths’ efforts, he’s raised a large chunk of money for a cause that is more than deserving of it.

“I’ve had a lot family affected by cancer and it’s not fun to go through,” Smith said. “Any way I can give back to try and get a world without cancer and have less people struggle with it, I’ll do. I’ve learned that if you dedicate yourself to something you truly feel attached to that you can make something great out of it. When I started that first year wanting a shirt, I don’t think I ever imagined being here a couple years later.”

Smith and his mother, Karen Smith, drove a total of 200 miles around Forestville and nearby neighborhoods in search of cans, with Karen even picking up some from Buffalo along the way. While Brayden focuses on one big day, he has an open tab at Can Kings in Fredonia year-round where people can donate cans under his tab to contribute toward his fundraisers. Realizing the importance of the cause, Can Kings gives Smith 6.5 cents per can, as opposed to their normal rate of 5 cents.

If anybody is wishing to donate money, you can email Karen Smith at kbradigan31@gmail.com.

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