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Women's Soccer Team Pediatric Awareness Game

By Savannah Cooper
On November 12, 2018

On Sept. 15, Concord University women’s soccer team hosted a pediatric cancer awareness game at the Cline Memorial Complex in Beckley. Although the game had to be relocated because of deteriorating weather conditions, fans of Concord women’s soccer still showed their support.

This game was especially important to the soccer team and community because it was played to support those going through childhood cancer and cancer survivors. The Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation worked with the soccer team to put on this fundraiser game.

Multiple signs were placed around the field to give more details and statistics about pediatric cancer. One of these signs stated, “In the last 20 years, only 3 cancer medications have been specifically developed for children.”

Another sign read, “Cancer claims the lives of more children in the U.S. than all other childhood diseases combined.” These signs explained some facts about cancer that the general public may be unaware of.  

This was the first game the soccer team hosted in support of pediatric cancer, but they have previously hosted games in support of breast cancer survivors.

The team encouraged fans to wear yellow and donate items such as new or used teddy bears and board games. Pilar Elias, number 23 on the team, commented on the generosity of members of the community and the opposing team by stating, “We got quite a few items. The other team brought some stuff too.”

The game was played against Salem International, whose record is 3-1. The hard-fought game ended up with Salem winning 3-1. By halftime, Salem was up by a 1-0 lead. Their first score occurred in the 37th minute.

 After a missed penalty kick by Concord in the 50th minute, Salem doubled its score by scoring goals in the 45th and 63rd minute.

Concord’s Kaitlyn Kerrigan, number 2, scored a goal in the 81st minute. This goal made the score 3 to 1. Ultimately Concord was unable to make a comeback, so Salem took this game win.

 Although Concord came home with a loss, team members were still proud with the results of the fundraiser.

Head coach Luke Duffy explained, “My assistant met with the Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation, which is like a pediatric cancer organization in Princeton. We met with them yesterday, so some of the donations will go to Princeton Community Hospital’s pediatric center, and others will be sent to the Women and Children’s Hospital in Charleston, West Virginia.”

The Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation works with multiple businesses, teams and organizations around the community to raise awareness for pediatric cancer. The organization was founded by Tim and Melissa Powell, two parents who lost their son Jonathan to Neuroblastoma in 2002.

 According to their mission statement, the foundation hosts events such as golf tournaments, annual runs, and sponsored sports events to “eradicate childhood cancer through research, advocacy, and education.”

Both Elias and Joanna Aiello, number 14, agree that the game was extremely important for raising awareness for pediatric cancer. Elias stated, “I mean obviously cancer is not anything anyone should go through, especially children, so I think it’s just a good cause that we donated and helped out with.”

The team plans on hosting one of these games every year. Duffy explained, “I think next year we will try to make it bigger. We will get the girls to wear yellow t-shirts with the Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation name on the back.”

This will not be their only fundraiser this year. Duffy stated that the team will be hosting a breast cancer awareness game next month.

Concord's football team may also be piggybacking off this game to do a cancer awareness game in the near future. Duffy showed his support by promoting this game and all other sporting events that raise awareness for issues such as this. By using the games to promote these issues, the general public can be informed while enjoying and supporting Concord University athletics.




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