CINCINNATI, Ohio— It’s nearly 3 a.m. on a Saturday night at the Cintas Center on the campus of Xavier University. The place should be deserted. Instead, the gym is filled with more than 1,300 high school students playing games, snacking with friends and listening to music.
Included in the group is nearly 20 Deer Park High School students, all participating in Night for the Fight. The night is a unique event planned by students, for students, which raises money for pediatric cancer research, according to the CancerFree Kids website, which plays host for the event.
The night also features speakers throughout the overnight session, allowing students who have been affected by childhood cancer to tell their story.
“It’s very moving,” Deer Park senior Daniel Daily said. “This year, there was a kid from Reading High School and his best friend who spoke. His experiences kind of related to some of the instances I’ve had. When I was younger, I had a friend who passed away from cancer. It’s been something that has touched my life in so many ways.”
Daily has been to Night for the Fight for three straight years, and said that cancer has the ability to affect so many, but the night allows students to raise money and show support.
“It’s everywhere,” he said. “But, it’s really moving to see a night that raises so much money and shows so many people passionate fighting for the same cause.”
Senior Mady Franklin has also been to the event three straight years. She said the 12-hour overnight is hard, but pales in comparison to what children who are diagnosed with cancer and their families go through.
“They do the event for 12 hours so that you can feel the feeling of fighting through,” Franklin said. “But imagining what kids (with childhood cancer) feel like is crazy. Putting yourself in their shoes is something you think about while you’re sitting there. It’s 3 a.m. and you’re sitting there listening to someone talk about their battle with cancer. You’re trying to keep your eyes open, but you can only image what they went through and what they were feeling.”
The event this year raised more than $244,000 dollars, as attendees each collect donations, which are compiled as a team. Deer Park fielded two teams this year.
The Deer Park Fighters—comprised of Daniel Daily, Morgan Bayer, Kyra Fuller, Daniela Chacon, Lulu Libre, MacKenzie Feltner, Abbi Ryan Mady Franklin, Faith Fowler, Maria Duffy and Jacob Frisch—raised $1,261 dollars.
The Wildcats—made up of Alyvia Hedges, Kenzie Schneeman, Torey Macke, Lindsay Jaworek, Bailey Walker, Abby Rice, Alex Rivas, and Samantha Schreibis—raised $1,024.
Morgan Bayer also gave one more item as part of the event. She joined other students on the floor of the arena to have their hair cut in order make wigs for cancer patients.
More information about Night for the Fight and CancerFree Kids can be found at www.cancerfreekids.org.