ARLINGTON — The fourth annual Coaches vs. Cancer basketball game at Arlington High School drew a crowd of thousands and raised more than $4,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society on Friday, Jan. 18.
“We were just really moved by how the community came out and participated,” said Jennifer Egger, community relations director for Cascade Valley Hospital and publicity co-chair for Relay For Life. “We are so proud of how our youth has participated in such a good cause. I think the kids did a great job of decorating this year, and the raffles were amazing. If anything, there were more people and more enthusiasm than before, and we hope that enthusiasm carries forward for Relay this summer.”
The Eagles’ varsity basketball team faced the Monroe Bearcats, and in addition to raising money for cancer research, also won the game 68-50.
“This year the students became more involved in this event which was exciting to see,” said Caryn Brown, event organizer and wife of AHS basketball coach Nick Brown. “Student leadership did a great job getting the students involved in this game by doing fun activities during lunches to promote cancer awareness and the CvC game. DECA became involved by putting on a CvC dance after the game. Art students painted basketballs to be raffled off to help raise money and ROTC presented the flag before the game. National Honor Society students helped with donation buckets and selling items in the gym foyer during the game. There are just so many ways students can become involved in this game.”
The crowd was decked out in pink clothing and students waved pompoms as cancer survivors were dubbed honorary coaches prior to the game.
Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert spoke about the importance of cancer research and how the Coaches vs. Cancer game supports that.
“This year is so much more meaningful to me because I lost my sister to cancer last week today,” she said. “Seeing people out there to fund the research so we can stop losing people is so important. This shows the true nature of the Arlington community, from kids to seniors. We are going to win this battle.”
Jan Schuette is the chairperson for sponsorship for the Arlington Relay For Life and was proud of how the community gathered for the game.
“Cancer touches everybody,” she said. “When you’re out there all alone and you go somewhere where everyone around you knows and cares and supports you, that helps. The American Cancer Society has so many options for people and this supports them. The whole community has joined in because they can see what kind of difference they make.”
The Arlington Relay For Life is aiming to hit the $1 million mark this year. The Relay for Life is set for June 22-23 at AHS’s John C. Larson Stadium. Egger urges Relay For Life participants to use the hashtag “ATownRelay” for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“We had a few people take photos on Instagram and tag us during the game,” she said. “We are hoping to use it to spread the word about our event.”
The total amount raised during the game was still being calculated as of press time. Anyone interested in making a donation can do so online at www.cvcarlington.com or by writing a check to American Cancer Society and mailing it in to the Arlington Boys Basketball team at 18821 Crown Ridge Blvd. in Arlington.