East Lansing Skywriting Stunt Sparks Cancer Fundraiser

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

"I really wanted to try and see how we might be able to turn a negative into a positive. That guy probably spent about $3,000 to put that thing in the air. Let's see if we can raise $3,000 for ovarian cancer research."

-MSU Vice President of Alumni Relations Scott Westerman

There are blue skies, and then there are "blue" skies.

Spartan football fans got a surprise Saturday when "Go Blue" was written across the sky above the stadium. The photo went viral, and now Michigan State University is taking advantage of the friendly rivalry by helping cancer research.

"We started taking pictures, and then we saw that it was 'Go Blue,' and we were like, 'Are you kidding me?' Why would anyone do that?," MSU freshman Madeline Crile said.

Confusion and frustration are still a common responses from MSU students on campus, but the executive director of the alumni association had a different one.

"I really wanted to try and see how we might be able to turn a negative into a positive," MSU Vice President of Alumni Relations Scott Westerman said. "That guy probably spent about $3,000 to put that thing in the air. Let's see if we can raise $3,000 for ovarian cancer research."

Westerman's wife is a two-time ovarian cancer survivor. She went through treatment at the University of Michigan's hospital with a chemotherapy drug invented at MSU. So, Westerman got the word out to Spartan alumni about donating to the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance - an organization based in Ann Arbor - and they rose to the occasion.

"I was stunned at how quickly everybody responded to this," Westerman said. "A thousand dollars an hour was coming there."

The Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance's donation page crashed at one point, and the phone has been ringing off the hook. Donations now total more than $14,000, and the effort hits close to home for MSU Athetlic Director Mark Hollis, too.

"My mother-in-law passed away with ovarian cancer," Hollis said. "This initiative hit me personally, I think it hit a lot of people personally, and I'm proud of how our Spartans responded."

Now it's the Wolverines' ball. Westerman challenged U of M's alumni association to match the donations.

"This is one game where I hope you out-score us, because maybe one of those $10 pledges that is made today will be the $10 that helps eradicate this disease," Westerman said. "If we save one life, that's all that matters to me."

The Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance said already the money raised is a significant chunk of change for them. It can go toward programs and awareness efforts they couldn't afford before.

Michigan's alumni association is still discussing what to do. The Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance is confident Wolverines will step up to the cause.

Visit the link below to donate.


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