Every year, the Northview community heads out to the varsity football game on a Friday night in October- the Blackout, where the objective has been to raise money in order to “blackout” pediatric cancer. Proceeds from the game go to the Helen Devos Pediatric Oncology Resource Team (P.O.R.T.), who use the money to make treatment time in the hospital a little more comfortable for pediatric oncology patients and their families. Community members attend the game to support the cause, but what’s really remarkable is the amount of work volunteers put in to the event to make it go smoothly.
The blackout game is run by hundreds of volunteers each year. From folding or selling t-shirts and passing change buckets to coordinating every detail of the event, every volunteer puts in time, no matter how little or how much, to help the cause.
Senior Ashley Feikema volunteered at the 2016 blackout game. Her role was to simply pass change buckets through the crowd. For Feikema, the act of volunteering for a small amount of time meant much more than passing change buckets. Feikema has seen the devastation that cancer can cause, as both of her grandfathers have been affected by it.
“I think it’s really important to do everything we can to help raise awareness and money so that children diagnosed with cancer have a better chance of surviving,” Feikema said.
While passing the change buckets, Feikema saw people generously donate their money, likely due to being impacted by cancer in some way. “It’s really crazy how many people have or have had cancer in their lives,” Feikema said.