DIXFIELD — Dirigo Middle School students accepted bottles and cans for their fundraiser, Cans for a Cure, on Thursday.

The returnables will be counted, sent to Portland radio station Q97.9 and redeemed for cash for cancer research.

“I want them to find a cure for cancer. It kills thousands of people every year,” Trevor Brown of Carthage said as he lifted a large bag of bottles worth a nickel apiece.

The radio station heads up the collection and has set 500,000 returnables, or $25,000, as its goal this year. Several schools and businesses in the state participate in the drive.

Morning show announcer Meredith Manning joined the youngsters around noon. She said this is the eighth year the station has headed up the Cans for a Cure drive.

For school staff, this was the second year taking part, Principal Celena Ranger said.

“The staff has been very supportive,” she said. “Some have picked up returnables before school or during their prep period.”

Ranger said many of the school’s students have had relatives or friends who have been affected by the disease.

The Life Skills class at the school baked chocolate chip cookies for the student volunteers. Hot chocolate was also served to them.

The sixth- through eighth-graders were excited to be outside in the sun and have a chance to help. That, Ranger said, is one of the primary reasons the school takes part in the returnables drive.

“We’re teaching kids about giving back. They are very excited when parents or friends bring in bottles and cans,” she said.

Eighth-grader Lyndzi Dolloff said she liked helping people, and also liked helping when she could do it with friends.

The fundraiser ends at 2 p.m. Friday. Anyone with cans or bottles can drop them off at the school, or may call 562-7552 for someone to pick them up.

Last year’s collection totaled 32,000 cans or bottles. This year’s goal is 32,500 or its equivalent in cash. A donation of $10 equals 200 cans or bottles.

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