ROUND ROCK, Texas — Round Rock High School Freshman Ashley Yost said it's time to be strong for her friends who were diagnosed with cancer. Yost thought the only way she could help was to be there for them, but she found another way to make a difference.

"In elementary school, whenever we would write those papers about, like, 'How can I make a difference,' I never would have imagined that I would be doing this," said Yost. "I'm so honored to be representing the Dragons for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's 2020 Students of the Year fundraising campaign."

She said she wants to help find a cure for cancer in her campaign, along with 40 other participants with Students of the Year. 

"My goal is $50,000 and I set it there because if you raise $50,000 or more, you get a research portfolio and I would do it in Rylie and Swassie's name," said Yost.

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Rylie and Swassie are Yost's close friends. They're both young girls diagnosed with cancer – and Yost said they're her motivation to keep going.

"You can help by sharing on social media and telling your friends and families on my campaign. Let's help make sure that nobody has to go through cancer," said Yost in her campaign video.

"Last year, we raised $729,000 in seven weeks and these are teenagers. Seven weeks! That's a ton of money. So, like Ashley Yost, having a $50,000 goal, that's a big deal when you're young," said Lindsey Sanders, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society senior campaign manager. 

Sanders mentors all of the candidates in Students of the Year. 

"One day when we do find a cure, it's going to be so exciting because we were a huge part of that, these kids were a huge part of it," said Sanders. "We're doing a lot of great work, but it takes time, it takes money, it takes energy. And, so, that's exactly why we're here, to really put those resources into that so we can find a cure."

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Yost considers herself a philanthropist and plans to keep fighting the disease for as long as she can. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Yost is raising money and awareness at Urban Creekside in Round Rock at 5:30 p.m. Sanders and Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan will be speaking at the event. 

You can donate to Yost's fundraising page here.

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