Partnerships Empower Alex’s Great State Race

December 8th, 2017

Rebecca Fadler

Alex’s Great State Race (AGSR), the 64-mile race in honor of Alex Powell, a former MSU student and cancer patient of Michigan Medicine, stands for many ideals; but the key theme is a partnership ensuring that students who stand in Alex’s shoes can experience the same positive educational experience as he did. The RCPD and Michigan Medicine were honored to provide Alex with the chance to attend college and fulfill his dream of being a Spartan, despite having terminal cancer. Alex’s family, friends, and teams from both the RCPD at MSU and Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at U-M, have set out to ensure that students like Alex can enjoy all of the opportunities higher education offers.

In this fourth run of AGSR, a first-time partnership included participation by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein. Calley, a MSU alumnus and Bernstein, a U-M alumnus, ran in the race with the ROTC cadets. They were presented with game balls that were autographed by their respective alma mater’s football coaches in recognition of their involvement.

Michael and Stuart walking side by side on a rainy day at U-M's Diag.

Left: U-M and MSU Army ROTC Cadets present signed footballs to Justice Richard Bernstein (middle, left) and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley (middle, right). Middle: Michael Hudson and Stuart Segal walk together at U-M's Diag before the AGSR 2017 Finish Line Ceremony. Right: Members of the Spartan and Wolverine Battalions come together at MSU's Demonstration Hall before the race.

The RCPD and SSD were also thankful to continue their partnership with Army ROTC cadets from both the Spartan Battalion and the Wolverine Battalion. The cadets ran as hard as ever despite the cold temperatures and hard rain. Still, spirits remained positive and the cadets provided high energy for the entirety of the race.

Dean Trailways returned as a title sponsor in 2017. As always, they were crucial to our success, providing funding and a bus to trail the cadets during the race. This allowed the cadets to take breaks throughout the long journey with snacks and water.

Other sponsors this year included Oral Surgery Associates of Lansing, AF Group, Jackson National Life Insurance, MSUFCU, University of Michigan Credit Union, and Implant Dentistry. All of these sponsors who to come together to support higher education for people of all abilities make an enormous impact on both MSU’s campus and U-M’s campus.

As always, the RCPD was delighted to continue our partnership with our counterpart at U-M. It is heartwarming to our office to come together with a rival school in support of accessible higher education for students of all abilities.

This year, the RCPD and SSD were also lucky to partner with several in-kind sponsors. Kroger, Playmakers, Biggby Coffee, Bruegger’s Bagels, The Mayfair, and Le Bon Macaron made sure that the runners were fed and happy. Team AGSR was especially thankful for Bravo! Cucina Italiana who provided a wonderful lunch of pasta, salad, and breadsticks to help the runners to recover from the race.

Caleb Sandoval, an RCPD Ability Access Specialist for Chronic Health, made it his goal to further improve the race in 2017. Caleb’s plan was to start a fundraiser at Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern on the day of the big rivalry football game to keep the spirit going all weekend. He was able to secure a fundraiser with Zoobie’s, and the restaurant also organized for Brewery Vivant to donate a portion of their signature sales to the RCPD, which Zoobie’s matched.

A large group gathers in front of MSU/RCPD/AGSR promotional materials at Zoobie's Restaurant.

Supporters of Alex's Great State Race gather before the fundraiser at Zoobie's Old Town Tavern.

Caleb remarked, “We laid the foundation for this event a year ago and were delighted to hear from Lisa McMahon from the Potent Potables Project restaurant group. Lisa has a connection to [Alex Powell’s] family and helped to organize the event on the Zoobie’s end. Brewery Vivant was also a great partner and we are looking forward to working with them on this event in the future.”

At the event, family and friends of the RCPD gathered. This cause combined with the beautiful outdoor scenery, an oyster shucking competition for Oysterfest, good pizza, and wonderful people made the event a total success.

While the season for donating to the RCPD through Alex’s Great State Race has ended, the RCPD is always open to donations and will ensure that every penny is maximized by our students and staff.