WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Real Kids Wear Pink of the North Country is a local group of kids supporting breast cancer awareness.

Through the organization Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of the North Country, the team is made up of 25 students from Watertown and the surrounding areas, most of them in middle school.

All had different reasons for joining the campaign but shared equal levels of passion.

The kids had an original fundraising goal of $5,000 but quickly increased the number and ended with over $17,000. Through fundraisers and campaigning efforts, many team members hit individual rates over $1,000.

“I decided to join because it affects a lot of people and it’s just not talked about enough and there needs to be more awareness about it.” Elliott Lavere said. “Lavere raised nearly $1,800 dollars for the campaign.

“I wanted to raise awareness and get the word out,” Max Simser said. Simser raised $1,300.

American Cancer Society Community Manager Don Boshart shared his excitement following the decision to support local efforts.

“It gives you hope for the future that those kids, you know, their parents are obviously teaching them a good lesson,” Boshart said.

The team was celebrated on October 22 at the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Watertown.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of the North Country Committee Member Erin Simser said the community is beyond proud of the kids for stepping up.

“They have completely met and exceeded our expectations and we’re so proud,” Simser said. “As a mom it’s so rewarding to see your child out there, doing good things, making a difference.”

Although the donation period for the Real Kids Wear Pink campaign has ended, Making Strides of the North Country will continue accepting donations through the end of the year.

More information can be found on the organization’s website.