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Rockets fight against childhood cancer

Students teamed up with CancerFree KIDS the week of March 6 to fundraise for and spread awareness about childhood cancer. As part of the Night for the Fight (NFTF) event, 65 McNicholas students raised over $15,000.

Senior Claire Crawford, who served on the NFTF Executive Board for this city-wide event, said, “McNick has taught me and my peers that selflessness, compassion, and empathy play such an important role in our lives, and we want to take what we have learned here and make an impact on other people. We said ‘yes’ to fighting for kids with cancer because we have realized that we’re here on earth for a purpose – to help others.”

As a member of the NFTF Executive Board, Claire led the leadership teams in planning the Night for the Fight events. Specifically, she led the fundraising committee that provided resources and came up with fun challenges and incentives to help students raise as much money as possible.

CancerFree KIDS’ Night for the Fight is an annual event that typically culminates in an in-person, 12-hour event at the Cintas Center. Due to the pandemic, the ninth annual event went virtual this year, featuring an interactive Fight Week scavenger hunt and a livestream event on Saturday, March 13. The livestream celebrated the NFTF students' fundraising success and honored kids who have battled childhood cancer.

Junior Lauren Keith and sophomores Carly Weidenbacher, Shelby Highfield, and Carly Badylak served as members of the leadership team who helped plan the Fight Week and livestream events.

McNicholas held a Covid-safe watch party for the livestream event and added games like cup stacking, heads or tails, and scooter racing. They watched the hour-long livestream, which included a recap of Fight Week; they were touched by the personal story of a senior from Hamilton High School who was recently diagnosed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and they spent time in reflection in front of the memory wall they created.

During Fight Week, students completed in-school and outside-of-school challenges. Rockets could be seen in the halls making music videos or three-pointers and in the community saying thank you to local nurses or paying it forward in a drive-thru. Claire said, “You may have seen kids participating in NFTF running around the city last week, trying to raise money and having friendly competition with their neighboring schools. I could see the passion our students had for the event; out of 50 schools, there were three McNick teams that finished in the top five.”

All of the money raised by NFTF stays local to help fund pediatric cancer research. Claire said, “Night for the Fight was created by students, planned by students, and is participated in by students. Personally, I think that is something incredible. High school students are able to gather from around the city, despite rivalries and other things, and raise money for an important cause. NFTF teaches high school kids how to make an impact on something so important at a young age.”

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