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A.J. Bremser (center) with BWH's Benjamin Ebert (fourth from left) and members of the Ebert Laboratory
Last month, members of the Ebert Laboratory at BWH had a special visitor: 13-year-old A.J. Bremser, of Franklin, Mass.
Bremser visited the lab, part of BWH’s Division of Hematology, for his eighth grade capstone community service project, which is meant to raise awareness of a topic that is meaningful to students and required in order for students to move on to high school.
For two weeks during lunch, Bremser held “Penny Wars,” a popular fundraiser, at his school. He ended up raising a total of $1,660.18, which he donated to the lab in the form of a giant check amid much photo-taking on Nov. 14. He decided to benefit the lab, which studies the biology and treatment of blood disorders, due to a personal connection. Bremser’s grandfather passed away of acute leukemia, a blood cancer that starts inside bone marrow, before Bremser was born.
“I never got to meet him,” said Bremser. “I felt connected to the lab and thought it was a good topic to choose.”
Fundraising for medical research is not new to Bremser’s family. For the past 25 years, Bremser’s uncle, Mark Clausen, and his family have held an annual golf tournament to raise funds for hematology labs at BWH to advance the fight against leukemia. As part of the capstone project, Clausen visited Bremser’s school, Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School, to speak to fourth through eighth graders about leukemia.
There is one more step before Bremser officially completes his capstone project: presenting his topic and results to the entire student body, parents and special guests in January. His mother, Ann Bremser, says he is ready.
“A.J. is a pretty independent kid,” she said. “He takes on a lot himself. When he went into Dr. Ben [Ebert]’s lab to present the check, everyone was so gracious and receptive to him. It was cool to see as a parent, and I’m proud of what he’s done. The success of the fundraiser surprised even him.”