By Nicole Matheson
This past weekend has been a busy one in our community, as there have been multiple efforts to raise funds and show support to those who have been affected by cancer.
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month and it started with a bang when Michael Alan Furnishings hosted its 13th Annual 24 Hour Sleepless in Havasu event.
There was also a walk Saturday morning beginning under the London Bridge hosted by the Cancer Association of Havasu. Both events sought to honor survivors as well as raise money for early detection services and low cost mammograms.
Beginning at 6 a.m., Oct. 1, Michael Alan Furnishings was the place to be as eager participants designed their beds for the ’80s-themed event. The locally owned furniture store’s mattress selection serves as a canvas for decorations, each bed being sponsored by an individual, group, or business pledging to stay up for 24 hours collecting donations. Each decorated bed is entered into a contest to find out the best of the year, but that’s not all. During the 24 hours spent collecting donations, the participants are treated to all sorts of games, entertainment, food and refreshments.
Local businesses come together along with Michael Alan’s staff to make this grand event possible, with dozens of sponsors who have donated time as well as money, and even merchandise to fill the Silent Auction. All proceeds of the auction benefit the Cancer Association of Havasu as well.
With a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting and a proclamation from the mayor to kick off the event officially at 4:30 p.m., Sleepless in Havasu once again proved to be a triumph. Michael Alan has all but met its goal of raising more than $50k this year alone, adding to their total of $375k raised altogether since 2008, when owner Chris Cooley first conceived the event and community tradition.
General manager of Michael Alan and one of the event coordinators, Vanessa Liesen, said it was good to get back to the event after a year of being unable to do much amidst the pandemic. “You can tell people were ready for it because the auction items are off the chart, the beds are amazing and everyone is just so excited to be able to give.”
Prior to all the fun and activities, Liesen said she looked forward to, “Everybody having a great time, knowing that they’re making a difference. Our community is incredible. They pour out their hearts for great causes. It’s a community that really invests into the people who live here.”
From first-time participants to those who have been coming since the beginning, the excitement was palpable.
Kiah McIntosh of GRIT Home Professionals went all out for her look and bed with a “Beetlejuice” theme. “I’m looking forward to all of it!” She said as the event began, citing that she had just moved to Havasu a month ago.
Long-time participants Virginia Chambers, Lanie Stahr and Susan Warren picked their “Jaws”-themed bed specifically to win, but were also looking forward to the events of the evening.
Fortunately for them, they won the People’s Choice award thanks to their creativity and vision.