Teens danced, hula hooped, sold popcorn and even gave up going to their prom to raise money to fight cancer at Mansfield’s Relay for Life on Saturday night.“The event overall was one of the best,” said event chairperson Kathy Andersen. “The kids were hula hooping at 2 o’clock in the morning. Six teams stayed til 6 a.m.”Despite the energy and enthusiasm from several of the high school teams, the numbers were disappointing for the 12-hour walk at Legacy High School’s track. When the proceeds are totaled, Andersen expects the event to net about $15,000 for the American Cancer Society, a far cry from the goal of $45,000 or even last year’s $40,000. Eighteen teams signed up to participate in the walk from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday, but only 14 showed up, compared to 26 teams last year.“I think everyone expected to raise money at the event and didn’t do it prior to the event,” said Andersen, who estimated that 300 people attended.The Mansfield event, which has been plagued by bad weather in the past, had a new location, a new day and lots of competition for participants. After being held at Katherine Rose Memorial Park for several years, the event moved inside Legacy High School last year and switched from Friday night to Saturday night this year. In addition to strong winds that prevented some of the planned activities, the event also was competing with softball and baseball playoffs held on nearby fields at Legacy.None of that seemed to bother the Key Club members from Venus High School, who passed up their prom to participate.“I’m having more fun here than at prom,” said junior Jennifer Roca, sporting clown makeup. “I’m making a difference.”The seven students - five juniors, a sophomore and a freshman - admitted that the senior members had chosen to go to their prom, which was being held in the high school gym.“Even if it was my senior year, I’d rather be here,” Roca said. “We would rather save someone’s life. Even if we’d have fun at prom, we get to hang out with all our Key Club friends.”The group, which has already racked up 164 service projects this year, sold popcorn, got their faces painted, danced, walked a lot and harassed people into buying cookies, they said.“They are all amazing and active in many things,” said Venus teacher and volunteer Joyce Barber. “They have such great hearts.”Venus was one of four high schools participating, Andersen said.“Our biggest supporters are the kids’ teams,” she said, listing teams from Timberview, Mansfield and Summit, plus another from Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary.“We want to make it fun so the people who are here will talk about it,” Andersen said. - This article contains information from News-Mirror archives.
Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM