Cancer benefit attracts hundred


Students at the University of Detroit Mercy have once again come together to support a great cause.

This time, over 100 members of the student body and local community came together at the Fitness Center to partake in a three-on-three soccer tournament held April 4.

Proceeds from the event went to the Leukemia Research Foundation in honor of Alayna Zalac, the stepdaughter of women’s soccer assistant coach Jamie Huff.

Two years ago, Alayna died at age 13 after a battle with leukemia. She regularly attended the women’s soccer games, and had a huge impact on the camaraderie of the team.

Alayna’s favorite color was purple, the color choice of the bracelets that were created in her name. One side of the bracelet has “Give Cancer The Boot” in white font. The other, her initials, AZ. 

This was the second year of the now annual event put on by the team.

Last year’s tournament took place outside on Titan Field. This year, due to frigid temperatures, the event took place indoors.

That did not deter participation, as 24 teams were formed representing both soccer teams, men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, Calihan administration and Greek Life.

“The event was a success. It was great to have so much support from the UDM community as a whole,” said Fitness Center employee Ellyn Nedwicki. “It’s great to raise money and awareness for such a worthy cause.”

The atmosphere at the Fitness Center was electric.

Each team was guaranteed two games before entering a single-elimination bracket. There were dozens of close games and Cinderella stories, with the Calihan administration making it all the way to the finals after defeating a group of men’s soccer players.

However, they ended up losing to a team comprised of University of Michigan Dearborn soccer players in a tight contest.

In the end, the event raised over $2100 with donations still being accepted throughout the week.

Suzie Redick, event planner and a member of the women’s soccer team, also felt that the event was a great achievement.

“I thought it was a huge success not only in the sense that we raised over $2,000 for cancer but also a lot of people had fun and it was an amazing turnout,” she said.  “Everything went so smoothly, thanks to the numerous volunteers that came out.”