Sept. 12, 2012
WASHINGTON - On August 28, the Georgetown University men's soccer team and coaching staff visited the clinic and lab at the Lombardi Cancer Center located on campus. The team wasn't visiting patients that day, they were learning about the challenges of pediatric cancer and the research that is currently underway to stop this disease that affects children.
"It opened the eyes of the boys to see all that is happening right next to where we play everyday," said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese.
Following that visit, the team made a commitment to begin work with the cancer center and those involved in the research to fight pediatric cancer. Georgetown's first step was to team up with Go4theGoal's Lace-Up 4 Pediatric Cancer awareness campaign.
Go4theGoal is a non-profit foundation that works to raise awareness and financial support for pediatric cancer patients, their families, pediatric oncology units and innovative childhood cancer research labs across the country. It was founded in 2006 by Dr. Richard and Beth Stefanacci soon after Richard, their oldest child was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma.
During the early stages of Richard's treatment, it became evident to the Stefanacci's that a disproportionate number of children and their families affected by childhood cancer do not have the emotional, financial and logistical support needed to battle the many challenges they now faced, and within weeks of their son's diagnosis, the Go4theGoal Foundation became a reality and its mission to provide support for kids battling cancer began.
Lace-Up 4 Pediatric Cancer is a movement that countless teams across the country have participated in. Go4theGoal created the Lace-Up 4 Pediatric Cancer awareness campaign in September 2011 to honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Within weeks, it became a nationwide phenomenon. Student-athletes across the country are wearing Go4theGoal's gold shoelaces, creating awareness and engaging in fundraising efforts to benefit G4G's program. Lace-Up 4 Pediatric Cancer is now a staple of Go4theGoal's fundraising efforts, helping continue its mission toward the ultimate goal, curing pediatric cancer.
At Sunday's game against the University of Pennsylvania, the men's soccer squad will be participating in Lace-Up 4 Pediatric Cancer by wearing the shoelaces and donating a portion of the gate proceeds to the organization.
Additionally, at halftime Dr. Jeff Toretsky and other representatives from the Lombardi Cancer Center and Go4theGoal will be introduced and their mission will be publicized.
"Dr. Toretsky has committed his life to solving this problem and his dedication, knowledge and passion to this singular cause was inspiring," said Wiese.
Even more fitting is that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the Hoyas will acknowledge this wearing the shoelaces through the end of the month.
Fans are encouraged to support the cause through donations which will be collected at the stadium.
"One of the best hospitals and research centers is right outside of the touchline of our field," said Wiese. "We are excited to do anything we can to help in this cause."