Woda Cooper Companies' Light the Night Team Captains, from left: Emily Gummere, Susanna Heer, Brett Neveraski, Marchay Sledge, and Roseanna Huston.

Woda Cooper Life October 25, 2019

Drum roll, please. Congratulations to Woda Cooper Companies’ employees who raised $30,000 for the 2019 The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society​ (LLS) Light the Night Walk – Columbus. This surpasses an initial goal of $25,000 and more than doubles our employees’ contribution to last year’s event. The mighty feat this year was accomplished through many small activities organized by five teams: Red, Blue, Gold, Purple, and Lights Out/Pink.

Gold Team captain Susanna Heer urged Woda Cooper to get involved with Light the Night after seeing LSS accomplish promising results in cancer research. Heer’s younger brother is a survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a common type of childhood cancer. “In the nearly 19 years since his diagnosis, the survival rate has gone up dramatically, in part because of research funded by LLS,” says Heer.

Fundraising events at Woda Cooper included bake sales, basket raffles, a corn hole tournament, tacos days, happy hours, food truck events, root beer float parties, cookouts, waffle bars, jeans days, karaoke contests, and more.

Perhaps the most creative event was the Gold Team’s “Fun Razor” happy hour which raised cash by challenging six employees (Tom Simons, Jim Cappano, Lance Paulick, Josh Frederick, Jack Kuhn, and Evan Nance) to get buzz cuts centerstage and enticed Principal Jeffrey Woda to submit to a clean shave. Development Assistant Lisa Stephens enlisted her daughter, stylist Bekah Stephens, to handle the razor.

The Purple Team’s Pie Wars encouraged money votes to see volunteer challengers (including Nance and Kuhn, plus Joseph Baker, Shilo Niehorster, Larry Curtis, and Principal David Cooper, Jr.) get pies in their faces. “My team struggled at first to think of ideas but came up with an incentive that engaged the company and urged all to donate,” says Purple Team captain Marchay Sledge.

Business associates, neighbors, friends, and families also contributed to the campaign by saying “yes” when employees asked for donations. Several individual Woda Cooper team members raised over $1,000 and one even raised upwards of $10,000.

Blue Team captain Brett Neveraski recalls listening silently as the $25,000 goal was explained during a company-wide kick-off in late August. “I was thinking there’s no way,” Neveraski recalls. “But raising over $30,000 is due to our employees embracing this cause and supporting the event.”

Light the Night is, for sure, near and dear to our hearts. “Cancer touches everyone somehow,” said Red Team captain Emily Gummere. “Whether you’re a survivor or a supporter, everyone wants to help end the fight with cancer.”

Roseanna Huston, who led the Lights Out/Pink Team and also has a family member affected by childhood ALL, couldn’t agree more. “This cause means so much to me and my family. After bombarding everyone with fundraisers over the past several months, we were able to not only reach our goal, but exceed it. I’m overjoyed and cannot wait to see the beauty and emotion at the Light the Night walk.”

We are so proud of our team. Good luck at tonight’s Light the Night Walk in Columbus!