Executive Director of the MSU Alumni Association Scott Westerman was hoping that he could inspire the Michigan State fan base to raise at least $3,000 for ovarian cancer research and challenged University of Michigan supporters to do the same after a skywriting prank over East Lansing enraged Spartans.
On Wednesday, less than two weeks since the plane had left its message in the sky over Spartan Stadium, that hopeful $3,000 that Westernman hoped to raise has actually swelled to over $40,000, and continues to grow each and every day.
"The Spartan Nation crossed the goal line today," Westerman said. "They did it with the generosity and teamwork that represent MSU alumni at our best. But we also realize that a lot more points will have to be put on the board in terms of research and testing before we beat ovarian cancer once and for all.
"It will take the best brains at both Michigan and Michigan State to win this one. Colleen and I look forward to watching that collaboration come to pass."
Supporters for cancer research and Michigan State everywhere are absolutely thrilled with the outpouring of effort from Westerman's challenge, especially Westerman himself and his wife Colleen, a two-time ovarian cancer survivor. Both have asked that donation please be made to the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance.
Though there is one aspect of the fundraising that is lacking, says MIOCA head Pam Dahlmann: The lack of contributions from the University of Michigan. Nearly "99 percent" of the donations through the end of last week had been from Spartan supporters according to Dahlmann, a Michigan graduate herself, but she hopes to see those numbers changed as Wolverines fans are called to action to donate, as well.
"As a U of M graduate, this has not been about the rivalry between U-M and MSU. The story is much bigger," said Dahlmann. "We gave the name ovarian cancer a platform for awareness. We took ovarian cancer awareness out of the state of Michigan and spread it worldwide!
"Spartan alums totally embraced this idea and for that the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance will always be forever indebted."
You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.