Alma, Mich. - Relay for Life is an event held year-round at many schools to promote cancer awareness. The event is organized by the American Cancer Society to raise funds for cancer patients, research, support and more. The Alma College football team has made a great impact in supporting and raising money for a great cause.
Relay for Life has been a big part of Alma College football's offseason team bonding. The event takes place at the beginning of the offseason and is a great way for the players, families, and friends to be part of the community outside of football. It is a daylong event for everyone to enjoy and support loved ones who are affected by cancer. This year, the football program was fortunate enough to be one of the top fundraising teams during the event.
Each team or organization has a carnival-style booth to raise money. Some teams sell food and drinks, while others have raffles, games, and items for sale. This year, the football team came up with the idea of having people donate one dollar to tackle a football player. The "Tackling Cancer" fundraiser was a huge hit at the event with many donors wanting to tackle football players. One big volunteer was sophomore Nahuel Juarez. Nahuel was willing to shave his head for a pooled donation of $200, which was raised in less than 30 minutes. The team also has a freshman player, Alex Dean, who cuts hair. Alex was kind enough to spend most of his day cutting hair for $5. Alex spent six hours at the event and donated the money made from each haircut to the American Cancer Society.
"I enjoyed being able to contribute to an important cause that touches so close to home," said Alex.
One of the differences this year was the teams' involvement with the Luminaria Ceremony. The ceremony consists of special bags dedicated to those affected by cancer. The bags are lit up and circle the track. This year, the football team had over 50 bags decorated for loved ones who have battled cancer and won, lost, or are currently fighting cancer.
In 2018, the football program raised nearly $350 during Relay for Life. One year later, it raised a total of $435. Altogether, the event at Alma College raised $6,843 to help fight cancer.
Junior Tom Truong, who has been involved with Relay for Life since middle school, captained this year's team. Tom plans to captain the team again his senior year with hopes of the team raising $1,000.
"I enjoy spending the time to help run this event," said Tom. "Even though it is a lot of work, it is worth every minute. Not only do I feel it is important to support the cause, but I also love how it brings the team together. It's great being able to spend a few hours together outside of football, while being able to connect with the rest of our community and schoolmates."