Youngster helps teacher by raising money for the fight against cancer |

Youngster helps teacher by raising money for the fight against cancer

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

When part-time Snowmass Village resident Linzy Spatz was very young, either in kindergarten or first grade, she became aware for the first time about fatal diseases.”My teacher, and she’s also a very good friend of mine, she has lung cancer,” Linzy recalled, and although the teacher has survived, the knowledge of her illness had a profound effect on the youngster.Fast forward to the present, and you find Linzy, now 9, engaged in an effort to raise money for cancer research by baby-sitting and walking other people’s pets.Asked why she chose now to undertake this project, Linzy thought a moment and replied, “I never have time to do anything like that [during the school year], so I have to do it now.”She’s preparing for an interview with the executive director of the nonprofit Lungevity Foundation of Chicago, Robert Marovich, and Marovich said he will try to get Teen Magazine and perhaps others to publish stories about Linzy’s work.

The precocious young lady, who has been involved in other efforts to raise money for research into pernicious diseases, has been at this one for a little more than a week, and already has raised $310.She is thinking of taking her campaign with her when she returns to her hometown of Highland Park outside Chicago at the end of August, for school.”But I might not have time, with school and activities and all,” she said in a telephone interview with The Aspen Times.According to Linzy’s mom, Marilee Spatz, her daughter came up with the idea all by herself one day. She made up some posters advertising her new doggie day-care service and put them in businesses around town (although, incredibly, some businesses declined to cooperate) then told her mom about the project and took her around to show off the posters.It wasn’t long, Linzy said, before she was getting calls, and she now is taking care of three golden retrievers, two Labrador retrievers, one tabby cat and one cat she calls Rag Doll.She doesn’t care for them all at once, and the Labs have left to go home to Arizona with their owners. But whichever pets she is dealing with at any given time get to play around her family’s home, or go for walks that Linzy likes to call “pet recess.” She also does some light grooming and bathing, her mother said.

And on top of the hard work, Marilee said, “She’s been missing camp to do this.” She explained that Linzy, who has been going to Camp Snowmass every summer for a diversion, decided this summer that her fundraising project was more important that goofing off at camp.When she mentioned that she might take the campaign up again when she returns to Snowmass Village [she spends about five months a year here], Linzy was asked if she has a maximum fundraising goal in mind.”Not necessarily,” she said after another pause.But, she revealed, she already has been hired to watch the two Labs next summer.She has three much older siblings, two sisters who are married and living with their families in other parts of the U.S., and a brother, Skippy, 19, who teaches skiing and attends classes at the University of Colorado in Boulder.While the sisters don’t know of Linzy’s effort, she said, “My brother, Skippy, thinks it’s really cool that I’m doing it, because he had the same teacher.”

Her mother’s also proud. Marilee, who has been visiting Snowmass Village for 44 years starting at the age of 6, is on the board of the Lungevity Foundation and serves on the board of the Parkinson’s Research Society. She said Linzy has taken part in walks to raise awareness and money for both organizations, which is how the youngster developed an interest in the activity.Marovich said from his Chicago office that he is not sure when he’ll meet with Linzy, but explained that a board member with public relations expertise is pitching the story idea to magazines.He said Linzy is the youngest of a new breed of “young philanthropists” working to help his organization, noting, “We’re just amazed that so many young people are, on their own, raising money for Lungevity.”John Colson can be reached

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