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SAPC Relay for Life Team gets boost from the famous and fabulous

By Alice V-Z Harrison '12
Contributing Writer

October is Breast Cancer research and awareness month, and at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, Team SAPC joined 44 other teams in the 24-hour Relay for Life of Scotland County---an annual event to raise money for researching a cure. This was an incredibly inspirational event to be a part of, but the inspiration was not limited to the event itself.

Our team captain, Renée Portorsnok Jones ’85, wasted no time recruiting new members to the team. She set the original team fundraising goal at a modest $500. Although more money would be raised at the actual event, it was understood by the team that the more we could raise before the event, the better for the cause. So, from day one, the clock was ticking.


  Relay for Life Team SAPC

I joined the team about two weeks before the actual event took place. I don't mind being competitive if it's for a good cause. Upon first joining, I expected to raise money the conventional way by boosting campus morale of those around me, in hopes that they would join our team, and maybe contribute a little money. But when I found out that the donations were mostly being made via the Internet, it made things a little more interesting. I was no longer limited to the confines of the campus thanks to the limitless expanse of cyberspace. At this point, my imagination began to run wild, like a horse in the great wide-open. I could just picture random people far and wide coming together for a good cause and supporting Team SAPC at the same time. While it's cool to have friends and family support, I think it's even cooler when a random, unrelated person does a spontaneous act of kindness. After all, cancer is a cause that touches many lives.

To begin with, I sent out e-mails to absolutely everybody in my online address book. Shortly after, a $50 donation was made by my good friend Helga Frendo-Rosso, who mainly resides in Canada. So already, team SAPC's influence had stretched across borders. It was so exciting! After that first success, I decided to take it even further. I thought to myself, if out of all the people I know, my one friend from far away is willing to donate to our cause, imagine who else might. So, it was Facebook to the rescue. I posted on nearly everyone's walls. I told some local people and some not-so-local people. I told some unlikely people and some likely people. I asked for a surprise, and I got it.

It was the unlikely people who stunned me most this time. I mean famous unlikely people. First, St. Andrews alumni and award-winning poet Beth Copeland '73 made a donation. And the very next person to make a donation came from way over in California, and although many Americans may not have heard of her, she is famous in both the US and many other parts of the world for her singing in Persian, French, and occasionally in English - Persian pop star, Shahrzad Sepanlou.

After that, I received a couple of donations from relatives and friends, and then the big one hit. A donation came in from another famous person, Persian pop star, Nooshafarin. [She has been one of my favorite Persian singers, since childhood, and she has sent me an autographed picture, and we've spoken on the phone, but I never thought she would actually accept my request for a donation.] She donated $100, and I was in shock. Next thing I know, I received a spontaneous donation from someone totally unexpected-- a friend of American singer-songwriter Jill Sobule (of 1995’s "I Kissed a Girl" fame). His name is Rick Curly and he and his wife Vicki donated $50. The most beautiful part about all this is that even though these people were on my Facebook page, being that we had never met face-to-face, and being that quite a few of them were of considerable fame, it would have been all too easy for them to just ignore my request and go on about their business. But in the true spirit of helpfulness, hopefulness, and generosity, these people from far away, who've never met me in person, these people who only know me as a "fan" actually took the time to care, despite distance or personal relationship. And, that is quite remarkable.

By the end of the event, Team SAPC had far exceeded its $500 goal, collectively raising a grand total of $1,130. In addition to the above surprising people that I mentioned, there are so many other people who had contributed to the success of team SAPC. Because of everyone involved, Team SAPC was truly the loudest and proudest team at the entire Relay For Life event. And we owe it all to everyone's contributions; whether you are a friend, a relative, a spontaneous do-gooder, or all of the above---we thank you. You all are the true meaning of kindness for kindness sake, and therefore, you all are fabulous.

Return to Alumni & Friends Magazine 2010    
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