Chelsea Butler, Angelisa Dennis and Olivia Crane give Butler’s nine-year-old brother Cody Coward a lift.
— Photo by Danette Dooley/Special to The Telegram
Music blared, children danced and cheerleaders showed their moves both on the floor and in the air on Sunday as Memorial University’s cheerleading team held a unique event to raise money for their squad and for the Candlelighters Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Samsung Canada sponsored the challenge which pits Memorial’s cheerleading squad against nine national contenders for a top prize of $2,500.
While there are also prizes of $1,500 and $1,000 up for grabs, cheerleader Angelisa Dennis, who entered her team in the contest, says MUN Cheer is aiming to come out on top.
“If we win the $2,500 we’ll use the money to help fund our trip to the nationals in Brampton, Ont. and Cheer Expo in Halifax,” Dennis said.
The music party — which drew more than 125 people — was a great way to raise awareness about Memorial’s 43-member cheerleading team, Dennis said.
The team currently holds the national championship title. it has participated and volunteered in various events over the past few months including the Terry Fox Run, Run for the Cure and Candlelighters’ Night of Delight fundraiser.
MUN Cheer is donating half of the money raised through the dance party to the provincial Candlelighters Association.
The charity provides support and services to families of children diagnosed with cancer. The association stocks a food-and-beverage cupboard for oncology patients and their parents at the Janeway and hosts a weeklong camp for children diagnosed with cancer and their siblings.
“In some form or another we have all been affected by cancer and this is our way of fighting back and coming together to find a cure,” Dennis said.
Olivia Crane said volunteering at Candlelighters Association events is an opportunity to meet some of the children affected by cancer.
“We enjoyed helping them before and we loved meeting the children. The money we raise will help send these children to camp,” she said.
Sunday’s event included a performance by Wonderbolt Circus and a photo booth where cheerleaders, children and others who came out to show their support hammed it up for the camera wearing colourful hats, bunny ears, giant plastic glasses and other costume accessories.
After having their picture taken with Memorial’s mascot Sammy the Seahawk, children and toddlers tried to outdance Sammy and the cheerleaders.
MUN Cheer coach Erin Goudie said she’s pleased that the team has made it into the finals and thankful to Dennis for entering the squad into the competition.
Samsung Canada provided an audio dock for a playlist challenge at the party.
“And they’ve given us the sponsors we needed to throw this bash today. To get this far we had to go to the Samsung Audio Dock microsite on the CampusPerks community page to make a profile. We had to get people to support us. We had enough 'supports’ to be in the top nine and now we’ll be judged on how we did today,” Goudie said.
If eight-year-old Cody Coward’s reaction to the entertainment is any indication, the cheerleaders pulled off a great event.
He thinks they’re really good, he said, after taking off the big wig and a black-and-white striped prisoner’s outfit he wore for his picture.
“My sister Chelsea (Butler) is on the team. They did some back flips. They’re taking pictures. They’re selling cupcakes. They’re having a great time. And I know they are going to raise money for Candlelighters.”
When asked what Candlelighters means, Cody said he thinks it has something to do with praying.
“And you can help people and cure their disease.”
Memorial fraternity Sigma Theta Pi is also among the top nine contenders for the prize money.
This is a corrected version.