Senior Spotlight: Lily Thoms and Caden Lorenzo

Photo Courtesy of Lily Thoms

Interview with Lily

What was your motivation to join the Leukemia and Lymphoma society?
My friend, Courtney Coyle, knew that I had a passion about helping people so she asked me to be on her team last year. Weirdly enough my family friend, Austin Carr, got diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia a week after I decided to join LLS.
What was your inspiration for your involvement?
Cancer was introduced early into my life due to my cousin, Connor Crooks, being diagnosed with a rare brain cancer. I did a fundraiser for him in 4th grade and I think that past experience sparked my interest in partaking in organizations like LLS!
Do you have anything planned for the future involving the Leukemia and Lymphoma society?
I hope to stay involved when I get out of college but if I was a SVOY, Student Visionary of the Year, last year I would have been on the leadership team this year. Since I was a SVOY this year and I will be going to college next year I think it would be too much for me especially because I am going to nursing school.
Can you describe some of the most memorable things you’ve done with this organization?
I would say that the most memorable moment was just a few weeks ago. It was at the Grand Finale when we were told the total amount that was raised between all teams. In North Jersey we raised 1.2 million dollars! At that moment I had a lot of my team members with me celebrating our work from over the past few months. It was just so special and emotional.
What is your goal within society?
To spread awareness, help all patients with cancer, to raise money for research, patient care and create a future without cancer.
What do you have to do to join the society?
I encourage anyone who wants to join this society to either find anyone in your community who is a student visionary or to reach out to me so I can give you information on how to reach out to the board to apply to be a SVOY
Do you plan on continuing your participation in the society during and after college?
I plan to support my friends, Mary McDowell and Eliza Turpin , as their LLS mentor for the 2024 fundraiser as they carry on the Hope Heals legacy! During college, I think by doing this organization it has inspired me to take action and take advantage of a new environment. With my experience I could create new clubs that are circulated around the same concept of LLS.
What have you accomplished thus far with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society?
Last year while on my friend Courtney Coyle’s team, I was one of the top team members with the most donations and this year my team contributed to raising 1.2 million dollars in North Jersey.
Are you involved in other service activities?
Not right now.
Do you know where you are going to college?
Yes! Fairfield University
Do you know what you are majoring in?
I am majoring in Nursing.
Does your major have anything to do with the activities you do?
Yes, LLS and my history with cancer has definitely influenced my major. I watched my cousin battle cancer in the hospital and be supported by amazing doctors and nurses. That emotional time in my life has inspired me to help patients like my cousin who passed from cancer.
What are you most passionate about?
I am passionate about helping those who are in need.
What are your favorite things to do in your free time and why?
I love to play soccer, lacrosse and ski! Skiing has been a huge part of my life! I competed in freestyle skiing up until last year after I made it to Junior Nationals in Park City Utah. Now I am helping kids learn how to ski in Vermont on the weekends!
What are you going to miss the most when you go to college?
I am going to miss my family and friends. It is going to be so weird living in another state and being surrounded by people I do not know. I have lived in the same area all my life and it is going to be hard not seeing my family everyday.

Interview with Caden

How long have you been a firefighter?
I have been a firefighter for 2 years.
What caused you to want to be a volunteer firefighter?
My father and grandfather were professional firefighters, so I wanted to continue the family tradition, even though I am not pursuing fire fighting professionally.
How much training was required to become a firefighter?
For volunteer status, you need to take written courses relating to the science of how fire spreads, as well as training with the equipment used during emergencies.
What is your favorite part of being a firefighter?
Working with other people who are giving their time and effort in order to help others, with no expectation of compensation or awards. These are the hardest working people I know
Is it challenging balancing school work and being a firefighter and extracurricular activities?
Since I am only a volunteer, I can usually afford to miss an event or two if it conflicts with my school schedule or extracurriculars, but I still have to sacrifice free time in order to fulfill my responsibilities.
What advice would you give to someone looking to become a firefighter?
Make sure that it is something you are willing to risk your life for. When people are in an emergency they are depending on you to put yourself in harm’s way in order to help them. It is the ultimate responsibility.
Does being a firefighter correspond with anything you’d like to do in the future?
Not really. I don’t plan on becoming a professional firefighter in the future.
What extracurricular activities do you do outside of school if any?
I am interested in fashion and product design as well as art. I also play two sports: Swimming and Track.
Do you know where you’re going to college yet?
If I get accepted to Georgia Tech I will go there. If not I will choose between Ohio State or Minnesota
What are you interested in majoring in?
I will be majoring in industrial/product design, with a focus on apparel, furniture and houseware.
What are you most passionate about?
I am incredibly passionate about design. When you design an object, no matter what, you have the ability to expand how people think and act. If you have an eye for design, you can help people in their everyday lives in ways that few others can.
What are your favorite things to do in your free time and why?
I like listening to music and looking at paintings. Seeing how others express themselves through art is so exciting, and allows me to understand people in a way that is difficult otherwise.
What are you going to miss the most when you go to college?
I will miss seeing my dog Cinder, as well as many of my teachers.
How has firefighting had an impact on your life?
It has given me a deeper appreciation for those who risk their lives everyday to take people out of harm’s way. If any of the knowledge I gain from volunteering helps me save even one person’s life, then it would have been worth all the time and effort.