Rivalry Week: A Unique Partnership for a Vital Cause

December 13th, 2016

Erica Kaschalk

Alex Powell never imagined calling on the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities or needing to rely on U-M medical services, but a serious cancer diagnosis changed that and ultimately launched an unlikely partnership.

This past October, Army ROTC Cadets from U-M and MSU carried the game ball 64 miles from U-M’s campus to MSU’s the day before the big rivalry game. Generous donors donated money to each school’s disability program. This year over $27,000 was raised for MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. The money raised will strengthen the resources available that made a difference for Alex.


ROTC cadets running while carrying the game ball and American flag.

ROTC Cadets from U-M and MSU run the game ball together.

The support and generosity surrounding Alex’s Great State Race was phenomenal. Many community members, including Delta Gamma Sorority, Tower Guard and others joined together to cheer on the ROTC cadets as they crossed the finish line at Dem Hall in East Lansing. This year’s media coverage expanded across multiple platforms including ESPN Game Time and several others are linked below.  Awareness of the event is growing which in return is achieving the event’s original goal, to increase visibility and funding for these vital services.

Alex’s Great State Race started as an event to bring awareness to U-M and MSU’s disability programs. In its three years it has done much more. It has brought two rivalry schools together during their rivalry week, showed people the impact the disability programs make, raised thousands of dollars for each program and allowed Alex Powell’s legacy to live on.

Media Coverage

Lansing State Journal: Judy Putnam wrote a column about Alex's Race that ran in the LSJ on Thursday, October 27, 2016.

WILS-AM (Lansing): Juliana Powell, Alex's mother, did an interview with Dave Akerly at 7:50 am on Thursday, October 27, 2016.

Michigan's Big Show Radio Show (AM Radio – Lansing): Juliana Powell did an interview at 6:33 am on October 28, 2016 with Michael Patrick Sheils.

MLive/Ann Arbor News: MLive/Ann Arbor News ran a story about AGSR on Friday, October 28, 2016.

WLNS-TV 6 (CBS-Lansing): WLNS-TV 6 ran a nice piece on the race during the 6 p.m. news on Friday, October 28, 2016.

MSU Focal Point: Two MSU students from the Comm Arts College covered the event for their campus television show “Focal Point.” Not sure when this show will air, but I will pass on the clip when it does.

WILX-TV 10 (NBC-Lansing): WILX-TV 10 ran a short story the morning of the race using file footage from last year’s event as well as a piece on the evening news on Friday, October 28, 2016.

The State News (MSU): The State News ran an article on Monday, October 31, 2016 about AGSR.