By Colin Noonan, Creative Arts Producer/Editor
Last weekend, Boulder City UMF formed a team to stand against cancer by walking in Relay for Life, an all-night relay to raise support for the American Cancer Society. The 15-person team, which included 5 cancer survivors, set a goal to raise $5,000. The goal was a bold one, but it was the incentive from Rev. Sandy Johnson to the team that caused quite a bit of attention.
Rev. Sandy Johnson, pastor of Boulder City UMF and member of the Relay for Life team, vowed that if the team met their $5,000 goal, she would shave her head. Two other teenagers from Boulder City UMF, Riley Marlow and Sam Holt, also vowed to go bald if they reached their goal. While the thought of shaved heads helped to bring in some much needed funds, there was a point where it seemed as if the goal might not be reached.
“On Monday, we had around $2,400 and it wasn’t likely that we would reach $5,000,” said Rev. Johnson. But a new addition to the team on the Wednesday before the event bumped them up another $1,000. After a generous donation from Rev. Johnson’s brother, heading into the event, they were still $600 short. Meeting the daunting goal was looking slim, but donations continued to trickle in.
Raising money for cancer is serious business, but the Boulder City UMF team made sure they had fun and enjoyed the event. The fundraising continued throughout the night. They sold bracelets, mugs, scarves, and food including BBQ chicken, pecan rolls, peach cobbler, and sweet tea. The team took home awards like “Best Campsite Food,” and “Most Spirited Team,” but the biggest victory was when they crossed the $5,000 mark at 10:00pm that night.
Boulder City’s Kathy Beall grabbed the shears and Riley, Rev. Johnson, and Sam all lined up to “lose a little off the top.” In that order, they all sat down and shaved their heads to stand with those that have lost their hair in a battle against cancer. It was such an inspiring site, even Sam’s friend, Tanner, had his head shaven too.
The challenge to raise the $5,000 was fun for Rev. Johnson, but it also touched a difficult part of her past. Her sister-in-law, Colleen, passed away in February after battling cancer for 17 months. Rev. Johnson said she shaved her head in solidarity with her sister-in-law who had lost all her hair during her treatment. In fact, this isn’t the first time Rev. Johnson has chopped her hair off for a good cause. In 2012, she and her daughter, Claire, donated their hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that uses donated hair in hairpieces for children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
After a lot of money raised, a little less hair, and an award for their peach cobbler, Boulder City UMF deepened the relationship between the church, the neighborhood, and many others in the fight against cancer.