In a short span of time, three women lost their lives to ovarian cancer in a small Metrowest town. In response, their hometown joined together to battle the disease. It is a wonderful thing when people of all ages come together and pull in the same direction. It is an incredible thing when the one town morphs into 21 surrounding towns pulling in the same direction. This is exactly the case in Concord.
The first of the three women was Lois Wells. Her son Steve Wells met with Ray Pavlik, both soccer coaches at Concord Carlisle High School and decided to hold a soccer match to honor Lois’s life. Five thousand dollars were raised and donated towards cancer research. That was 15 years ago. Today the Kicks for Cancer soccer event has swelled to encompass more athletes, students and community members from surrounding towns.
Led by Trish Siefer, Concord and Carlisle high school parents, community members and teachers, Kicks for Cancer is a fundraising event that hosts 21 towns in a weekend of athletic events one of which is multiple soccer matches. 16 matches were held back-to-back in September, 32 teams play in total. Athletes receive either a pink or teal jersey and on the back of the jersey is the name of someone who either had cancer or have passed on due to cancer.
The towns provide the talent to play soccer and other athletic matches but they are also asked to help with the day’s activities as well as support the financial aspect. Each of the 20 towns brings a basket for an opportunity drawing and they also sell drawing tickets in their towns. Some groups choose to do something in addition, they hold car washes or run their own event to support the cause. Last year, Bedford held an opportunity drawing at a workout class. At the conclusion of this exercise day at the local gym, when combined with other fundraising efforts, Bedford was able to contribute over $15,000 to Kicks.
On the Saturday of the event, volunteers from other towns join together and are able to see one another in person. The sense of community and commitment swells throughout the day as more and more towns arrive to volunteer and athletes arrive to play.
“Seeing all of the community spirit and volunteers joining in for this one community one cause event warms my heart,” said Seifer. “It is extraordinary to be a part of this.”
This year they expanded into a weekend full of events, beginning with an Ultimate Frisbee match, Flicks for Cancer, Friday night football game, tackles for cancer and a pink dance. On Saturday soccer games, field hockey games and volleyball games took place. Then on Sunday the weekend culminates in the 5 K Mighty Moose Race. See www.kicksforcancer1.org for more information.to 5 p.m.