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Cadets From MSU, UM Team Up To Help Students With Disabilities During Rivalry Week

Juliana Powell and Kellie Dean at Alex's Great State Race in 2016.
Stepheni Schlinker
With ROTC cadets at attention at Alex's Great State Race in 2016, Alex's mother Juliana greets Kellie Dean of Dean Transportation.

Alex Powell was a Lansing Catholic High School graduate who was about to fulfill his dream of attending Michigan State University when he was diagnosed with cancer. That diagnosis didn’t stop him from going to MSU, though it was for only a short time before he passed away. Powell is the namesake of Alex’s Great State Race.

ROTC cadets from MSU and UM carry game balls photo
Credit Stepheni Schlinker / APUE MSU
ROTC cadets from MSU and UM carry game balls to the rivalry football game prior to the 2016 football game.

Now in its fourth year, ROTC cadets from MSU and the University of Michigan will run from East Lansing to Ann Arbor with the game balls that will be used in the rivalry football game this weekend. Money raised will help provide services to students with disabilities at both schools.

The race starts at 2 a.m. Friday at the Sparty statue on the MSU campus. MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities and U-M’s Services for Students with Disabilities will both benefit from Alex's Great State Race.

Alex’s mother Juliana says her Spartan-loving son turned to the University of Michigan for his cancer treatments. "I can say he had the best care there for what he was dealing with," she states. "We were so blessed. That best care happened to be 64 miles away, in Ann Arbor."

"Usually, there are four cadets that are out running," Juliana Powell explains. "They'll run five mile segments, almost like a relay." Along with the game balls, cadets will carry an American flag.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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