PHOENIX -- Students often raise money for field trips and school dances, but one group of Arizona teenagers is raising money to fight brain tumors.
The group, "Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research," was rewarded for its hard work Monday with the opportunity to watch a live brain surgery at St. Joseph's Barrow Neurological Institute.
Doctors invited dozens of middle and high school students to spend their Presidents Day off from school at the hospital, where they watched a procedure from an auditorium. After the surgery, they asked the surgeon questions and he responded through a live feed.
Barrow doctors said the viewing was the hospital’s way of thanking the students for their fundraising efforts.
Barrow Principal Investigator Dr. Adrienne C. Scheck said the Phoenix neurological institute is the only place she knows of that allows students to get that close to the operating room.
"I think it’s critically important that they see where their money goes, and that they see how much help they can do," Scheck said.
Alexander Michunovich, a high school senior, said he fell in love with the organization because of the cause it supports.
"It’s kind of interesting," Michunovich said, "because at that point I didn’t really have something that I could apply my efforts to, to be part of something larger than just myself."
Students with the group have raised $2 million for medical research since it was founded 12 years ago.
The group held its annual fundraising walkathon Saturday at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale.