Mount Pleasant teacher, cancer survivor will spend night in school trophy case to raise money for Relay For Life team
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Friday, Mar. 07, 2014

Mount Pleasant teacher, cancer survivor will spend night in school trophy case to raise money for Relay For Life team

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/05/12/49/5vSGq.Em.138.jpeg|421
    - MARCIA MORRIS
    This trophy case in a busy corridor at Mount Pleasant Middle School will be librarian Julie Stephenson’s bedroom for one night if the school’s Relay For Life team meets its $5,000 fundraising goal by April 14.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/05/12/49/NK1Ur.Em.138.jpeg|421
    - MARCIA MORRIS
    Julie Stephenson tests the confines of the 2-by-13-foot trophy case at Mount Pleasant Middle School. She’ll spend a night in there if the school can raise $5,000 for Relay For Life by April 14.
  • Want to watch?

    To watch Julie Stephenson’s night in the trophy case, or to learn more about participating and donating, check out the team’s Facebook page at “Mt. Pleasant Tigers Relay For Life Team.”

Julie Stephenson is a survivor with a smile.

Diagnosed with cancer eight years ago, Stephenson, the media specialist at Mount Pleasant Middle School, beat the disease. Now she raises money for the American Cancer Society in ways that make folks chuckle and perhaps question her sanity.

Stephenson captains the Mount Pleasant Tigers Relay For Life team, which will participate in the Cabarrus County Relay For Life event April 26-27 at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center. The team’s fundraising goal this year is $5,000.

Mount Pleasant Middle first participated in Relay for Life when Stephenson was diagnosed. Over the years, it has evolved into a community team. Anyone can join, she said, and last year dozens participated by walking, though even more students helped to raise money.

Stephenson tries to create a “motivational fundraising strategy” – something to appeal to middle school students and get them excited.

For example, once a month students can wear a hat to school when they make a small donation to Relay.

Now Stephenson has issued a larger challenge: If the Relay For Life team can meet its $5,000 goal by April 14, she’ll spend the night in a 2-by-13-foot trophy case beside the school’s media center.

Why the trophy case?

“I wouldn’t dare sleep on the roof,” Stephenson declared, so the display case in a main corridor seemed like a good alternative.

She plans to decorate the small space like her bedroom. A live video feed will be set up so that students can watch her sleep at school from the comfort of their homes.

Stephenson is a little nervous about people watching her sleep, because “my kids say I snore,” she said. “Maybe I’ll stay awake all night and read; that would be a good thing for the school librarian to do.”

To meet the fundraising goal, the Tigers will sell Relay team T-shirts and host a community yard sale April 11 at Mount Pleasant Middle. Participants rent space at the sale with a $10 donation and keep the proceeds from the sales of their own stuff.

The team is also relying on donations to help meet the goal, and Stephenson hopes even more people will join and register for the event.

Why take the time to register? Stephenson speaks from experience: “When you are fighting for your life with cancer, it helps to know the number of people who are supporting you.”

As for her night in the trophy case, Stephenson hopes no spiders are living in there, and that she’ll get at least a little rest.

After all, April 14 is a Monday, so come Tuesday morning she’ll have to emerge from her cramped quarters, “brush my teeth and start teaching.”

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