Jan 27, 2012 Neil Benjamin Jr. Uncategorized
Not even the crackling cold could stop the fundraising festivities Saturday evening at Four Seasons Golf and Ski Center in Fayetteville.
The second annual Sled for RED, a family centric and innovative event in which money is raised for AIDS research, was successful in many ways. Teams from around the area could consist of five members. They had to build sleds made out of nothing but tape, cardboard and paint and raise at least $250 to compete in the downhill Cardboard Sledding Derby that became more fun than competition. It kicked off around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Beyond raising money for AIDS Community Resources, a non-profit that educates youth about the dangers of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases and ways to avoid said diseases, the evening was rife with winter spirit.
In total, 20 teams competed and raised a grand total of $14,025. Every cent stays local, according to Carrie Large, director of development for Aids Community Resources. Leading the charge was Living Large, a team consisting of Carrie Large and Cathy Kozachuk, which stole the show by raising $1,450.
Large, director of development for Aids Community Resources, was an enthusiastic part of the festivities. She said the goal was to come up with $10,000, yet even before the final tally was calculated, she was confident that mark would be reached.
“The support has been unbelievable, and I feel the community really wanted this,” she said. “It knows we need the support if we’re going to keep this going, if we’re going to keep educating kids.”
At around 4:45 p.m., teams started lining up their sleds along the hill. Some chose quiet unveiling, while others, literally, came out smoking. One team was called up to race, and made a grand entrance by coming out of the back of a truck equipped with smoke machines. It was a sled built to look just like a pickup truck, giving the sizable crowd something to cheer for.
There were sleds that replicated motorcycles, turtles, pizza boxes and even mega-chain Target.
The Vestal Blondes, a team sponsored by Starbucks, took home the gold by making it safely to the bottom of the hill in a time of 8.9 seconds.
“It was for a great way to raise money and awareness,” Blondes member Ryan Titchen said. “I mean, how often do you get to have this kind of fun for such a good cause?”
Team Squirtle, made up of Alex Bucaro, Damien Dine and Brennen Dooley, said the experience of meeting every Thursday for three weeks to build their version of the Pokemon character was a total blast, and one that won’t be forgotten. The team is part of the Q-Center, which is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender center. The center received a portion of the proceeds to fund educational programs.
“We all came together for this cause,” Dine said. “You’d really be surprised how many kids don’t know the specifics about AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. An event like this helps [the Q-Center] to educate those kids.”
Large said she hopes Sled for RED becomes a yearly tradition in Fayetteville. Judging by the results from this year, she’s quite confident.
“We hit our goal before the final tally,” she said. “I think the enthusiasm showed by the community will help this event continue to thrive.”
Neil Benjamin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.