KAYSVILLE -- Sam Morgan Elementary School students broke a state record when they raised $6,243 for Make-A-Wish Foundation Utah.
"I was really surprised," said fifth-grader Carter Erickson. "I thought we'd get barely over $5,000."
Carter, 10, serves on the student council. He recently asked the council to raise funds for Make-A-Wish because he knows firsthand the joy it brings to children.
He and his twin brother, Caden, were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when they were 3 years old. Both have been cancer-free for three years.
But Carter and the other student council members wanted to do the fundraiser to honor fourth-grader Emmalee Havertz, who died Oct. 1 from liver cancer.
Krachel Greenwood, spokeswoman for Make-A-Wish Foundation Utah, said the most money an elementary school had raised was about $5,000. Normally, elementary schools donate between $2,000 and $3,000.
"The school absolutely adored Emmalee," Greenwood said.
Emmalee's father, Kaysville resident Steve Havertz, volunteers for the foundation. He went to Sam Morgan Elementary for the opening fundraising assembly and again for the closing assembly.
"The incredible thing is, (the students) did this on their own," Havertz said. "They raised the money basically through spare change."
Emmalee was diagnosed with cancer at age 8. She was the youngest of Steve and Kara Havertz's three children.
Earlier this year, the foundation granted Emmalee's wish and sent her and her family to Disney World in Florida, Havertz said.
"She was treated like royalty."
The average wish costs about $5,000, Greenwood said.
Carter and Caden said they do not remember having cancer, but they do remember their wishes.
Carter wanted to take photographs of animals. The foundation gave him a digital camera and sent him and his family to the San Diego Zoo in 2003.
In 2004, the foundation sent Caden and his family to Disney World.
"This was a good idea because (Make-A-Wish) is where kids go to get wishes," Caden said.
"It's nice to help other kids feel what we felt."