SHOREWOOD - Shorewood students reached the $400,000 fundraising goal established by students 30 years ago during the founding of the Shorewood Games.
The Shorewood Games fundraiser has been held once every four years since 1987. Students at the time wanted to build greater relationships in the Shorewood community while also honoring SHS student Gus Rich, who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's T-cell lymphoma. The students raised $10,000 for the MACC Fund that year, and they set a goal to eventually raise a total of $400,000.
Shorewood students had ambitiously hoped to reach that $400,000 fundraising goal this year, on the 30th anniversary of the Shorewood Games. Shorewood schools had collected $325,000 going into this year's fundraiser, and they hoped to raise the $75,000 balance by involving the business community for the first time. A check presented during the closing ceremony of the Shorewood Games on Friday, March 24 showed the students had raised $72,260, shattering the previous fundraising record of $56,000.
Although the $72,260 fundraising total was impressive, it still fell $3,000 short of the $75,000 needed to reach the overall $400,000 fundraising goal. After the ceremony, nearly $3,000 in donations poured in at the last minute to help the Shorewood Games fundraiser meet its $75,000 goal.
"What you've all done is so incredible," MACC Fund Executive Director John Cary told the students at the closing ceremony. "This is a tradition that makes the Shorewood school system and the entire Shorewood community so very special."
The Shorewood Games collected funds throughout the year, but the bulk of the fundraising happened in the last two weeks. Students organized a pasta dinner, pancake breakfast, a bachelor competition and sports competitions during their lunch hour every day for two weeks. Students also raised money by having their hair buzzed off on March 22. The four grades all competed against each other throughout the competition, and this year's winning class was the seniors.
"They spent two weeks turning the school upside down, but it's all in the spirit of the Shorewood Games," said high school gym teacher Lisa Bromley, who has organized the games for all 30 years. "We get to live the good fortune of enjoying each other's company and being a little bit competitive, but at the same time we help kids with cancer."
Shorewood High School Principal Tim Kenney raised $3,600 through the Buzz Cuts for Cancer event. He was the second-highest fund collector in this year's Shorewood Games competition. He said cancer hits close to home, as his wife's younger brother Nicolas Terrones passed away from brain cancer six years ago at the age of 31.
"I cannot thank you enough for helping my family keep his memory alive," Kenney told students during the closing ceremony.
The person who collected the most funds was Shorewood Intermediate School gym teacher Jan Zehren. Zehren had originally planned to raise $2,000 for the MACC Fund, but when her brother died four weeks ago, she decided to honor him with a larger donation to the MACC Fund. She and a group of middle school students collected $2,100 in one weekend at Sendik's in Whitefish Bay.
Gus Rich, who survived the cancer diagnosis handed to him 30 years ago, spoke at the closing ceremony along with his son Max, who is now a senior at Shorewood High School. They both thanked the students for their efforts to help the MACC Fund fight childhood cancer.
"I can't tell you how grateful I am to my old high school that you keep this fundraiser going," Gus Rich said.
(Editors note: This article was written before the $75,000 fundraising goal was reached. The article has since been updated to reflect the final fundraising amount.)