The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 4, 2012

Boy raises $700 for cancer fund with handmade bracelets

— When John Yoder, a sixth-grade pupil at St. Andrew's School in Benscreek, was invited to meet with the president of Memorial Medical Center last year to speak about his school’s breast cancer fundraiser, he felt a little unworthy.

“I really wanted to ‘earn my keep,’ ” he said.

So when students were asked if they had any ideas for this October, Yoder came up with an idea.

“I thought about the bracelet I learned to make in Boy Scouts over the summer,” he said.

“At the time, all I had was the camouflage ‘survival bracelet’ that is made out of paracord (used for parachutes) and a clip to hold it together.”

But made out in pink ...

Yoder got a pattern for the bracelet from his aunt, a Boy Scout leader, and with the help of his mother, ordered the paracord and snaps over the Internet.

“Once I got the items in the mail, I began making them immediately,” Yoder said. “Every day I brought my box filled with bracelets and sold them for $6 before and after school and during lunch. My dad and mom both sold some at work when people found out that I was making them.”

The 12-year-old recently contributed $706 to the Conemaugh Health Foundation Cancer Fund - his profits from selling the bracelets.

Tracy Yoder said her son was very dedicated in the enterprise.

“Every day he would come home with this gigantic list of names of those who wanted one,” she said. “Every night, he would get his homework done and then he would start working on them.”

Yoder said her normally shy son was forward about his efforts. “He would talk to anyone about it.”

The Davidsville woman said she and her husband, Greg, are very proud of their son.

“He did it all on his own,” Tracy Yoder said.

They aren’t the only ones proud of the 12-year-old. School principal Grace Guaetta also had high praise for her young charge. “He’s a good kid - a sincerely sweet kid. We are very proud of him.”

Guaetta said the bracelets were a popular item in the school.

“Almost everyone at St. Andrew’s School is sporting a pink square-knot bracelet,” she said. “They were really a big hit.”

As for Yoder, he isn’t finished yet.

“I am looking forward to doing another fundraiser next year,” he said.

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