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Press release from PR Newswire

Students Collect Record Breaking $10.7 Million for Cancer Research

Monday, December 10, 2012

Students Collect Record Breaking $10.7 Million for Cancer Research13:30 EST Monday, December 10, 2012Pasta for Pennies Presented by Olive Garden Contributes Biggest-Ever Contribution to The Leukemia & Lymphoma SocietyORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Students across the country have collected a record-breaking $10.7 million through Pasta for Pennies, presented by Olive Garden and benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), thanks to the efforts of more than 4 million students from 6,091 schools nationwide.  This brings the total raised through Pasta for Pennies since 1994 to more than $70 million.Pasta for Pennies: National$10.7 million raised in 2011-2012 6,091 schools participated More than 4 million students More than $70 million raised since 1994Students in first through 12th grade participated in Pasta for Pennies filling collection jars and boxes in their classrooms with spare change over a three-week period during the school year.  The top fundraising class at each participating school received a pasta party from their local Olive Garden restaurant.Spare change raised through Pasta for Pennies helps fund blood cancer research and provides much needed services and support to leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma patients and their families."We congratulate all of the students who put forth such an amazing effort in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society," said John Caron, president of Olive Garden.  "Through Pasta for Pennies, students can see firsthand that even the smallest donation can have a significant impact on their local community. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is moving closer to a cure because of their efforts."Leading the nation as the top Pasta for Pennies fundraising school was William Mason High School in Mason, Ohio, collecting $25,754.Other top fundraising schools include:Princeton High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, with $17,707 collected; Harry Russell Elementary School in West Carrollton, Ohio, with $16,674; and Iroquois Middle School in Macomb Township, Mich., with $16,353.The top fundraising LLS Chapter in the country for the second consecutive year was the South Central Texas Chapter where 585 schools collected $1.1 million, the most ever raised by a single LLS Chapter in the history of Pasta for Pennies."Pasta for Pennies continues to provide so many teachable moments for these students," said LLS President and CEO John Walter. "Teachers do an amazing job incorporating Pasta for Pennies into their math and science curriculum. In addition, kids learn about how important it is to give back to the local community. We thank those teachers, students, parents and Olive Garden for making Pasta for Pennies so successful. Our patients and their families truly appreciate it."The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer.  The LLS mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.  Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada.  To learn more, visit www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 90,000 employees and more than $3.5 billion in annual sales.  Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant operating company.  In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list.  Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com.SOURCE Olive GardenFor further information: Catie Jackson, Pierson Grant Public Relations, +1-954-776-1999, x236; or Tara Gray, Olive Garden, +1-407-245-5642