Â 04/27/12 â€śAfter 12 hours of walking, running, skipping, and a sort of odd hopping around the track,â€ť the blog for the Culver Academiesâ€™ student newspaper reported more than $95,000 was raised during the 5th Annual Relay For Life of Culver that concluded at daybreak on Saturday, April 22.
That total pushed the Academies-hosted Relays to more than $585,000 raised in just five years for cancer research.
By Monday afternoon (April 23) the 2012 total had climbed to $97,000 toward the $130,000 goal with four months of fund-raising remaining. Online donations received through Aug. 31 at www.relayforlife.org/culverin will be applied to this yearâ€™s effort.
Hosted by the Academies in the Multipurpose Building, the student-run event attracted 62 teams, 650 registered participants, and 800 to 900 people were said to have attended during the 12-hour event. A number of local/area food vendors were be on hand, including the Fair Oaks Farm Taco Booth, Culver Coffee Company, Gladieâ€™s Deli, The Lakehouse Grill (formerly Edgewater Grille), and Papa Johnâ€™s Pizza. Fair Oaks of Demotte, Ind., is owned and operated by Culver parents Michael and Sue McCloskey and was the lead sponsor again this year.
â€śI am just so thankful that everyone came out to help raise money for an amazing cause,â€ť said senior Marin Barnes of Culver, Ind., a co-chair of the Relay For Life Committee â€śRelay has been a huge part of my life for the past five years and itâ€™s crazy to think that this was my last Relay For Life of Culver.â€ť
Â Indianapolis Coltsâ€™ running back Donald Brown, this yearâ€™s celebrity guest, told The Vedette, the Academies student newspaper, that â€śRelay For Life is a great event for a great cause; lives are being saved through such events. What I find so impressive about the Culver Relay For Life is that it was started by students.â€ť
To current cancer patients Brown said, â€śKeep fighting every day. There will be good days and there will be bad days. Itâ€™s important to always keep your goals in sight.â€ť
The Academies-hosted Relay was the first in Indiana to be student-organized in 2008. Relay For Life of Culver is a community event with participation representing the Academies, the town, and Marshall County. Relay planning is carried out by a student committee made up of eight subcommittees with over 100 student volunteers.
Barnes said â€śthere is no way we could put together a successful event without the support of our school as well as the entire community.â€ť
In his blog, Vedette staffer Joshua Silver, a senior from Pittsburgh, wrote: â€śThere is a greater feeling in this room than one of fun and excitement and to simply help support cancer research. An aura of togetherness permeates the air; togetherness for change. And that is really what it is all about. No matter where our journeys take us, as long as we are together, we will be alright.â€ť
Walking endless laps around the track represents the ongoing effort to eliminate the â€śdrastic effects cancer can have on individuals, families, friends, and communities,â€ť Silver wrote â€śWe walk to remember our journeys. We walk to empathize with othersâ€™ journeys. We walk for our current journeys. We walk for our future journeys.â€ť
This yearâ€™s Relay featured a fireworks display and a â€śHello Gorgeousâ€ť makeover for a cancer survivor currently undergoing treatment. Academies staff member Dana Neer, whose 6-year-old son is recovering from non-Hodgkinâ€™s lymphoma, spoke at the Luminaria Ceremony.
Neer gave a personal testimonial of his son Graysenâ€™s fight against cancer. Diagnosed in August 2011, the kindergartner is on his way to a full recovery. Ironically, as a college student Neer ran in the first American Cancer Society-sponsored relay in Pennsylvania in 1984. He has run in many since, but none more meaningful than this past weekendâ€™s.
In a joint statement Head of Schools John N. Buxton and his wife, Pam, said, â€śOur Culver Academiesâ€™ community shares a common enemy with the town of Culver, the local farmers, and the residents of the lake: Cancer. Our collective efforts to eradicate cancer in the future derives us to work together to find a cure as we remember those who lost their battles and those who have survived.
â€śThis yearâ€™s Relay was particularly important because it marked the fifth anniversary of this initiative begun by an enterprising young woman who wanted to acknowledge her grandfatherâ€™s battle with cancer. She and her friends energized and then mobilized an entire community to work together and make a difference. We could not be more proud of our students or the volunteers who together made this such a successful annual event.â€ť
Lew Kopp shot the photos.