Soccer team gives cancer a kick

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – On Monday, representatives from De La Salle Collegiate were on the University of Michigan campus to present C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital with a donation of more than $16,000 raised by the soccer program.

“We wanted to do something special,” Pilots varsity soccer coach Thaier Mukhtar said. “We came up with the idea about playing a cancer game to raise a few thousand dollars and donate it to cancer research.”

In September, De La Salle and Brother Rice played four soccer games – varsity, junior varsity and two alumni contests – billed as the Catholics vs. Cancer Soccer Showdown at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac. Gate receipts and merchandise sold totaled $8,085, which De La Salle and President John M. Knight agreed to match.

Dr. Mody accepts the check from De La Salle soccer captains on hand during Monday’s presentation at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital on the campus of the University of Michigan.

“When it came to $16,000, that’s amazing,” Mukhtar said. “Every time I think of that total I get emotional. Mr. Knight and De La Salle matched the $8,000 that we raised at the game that we originally thought would raise maybe $3,000, and we went way above that.”

The Pilots raised another $1,675 online through a Crowdrise page, bringing the school’s total donation to $17,845

De La Salle’s donation will go to the Block Out Cancer Campaign, which supports pediatric cancer research. Block Out Cancer raised more than $191,000 for this year’s campaign.

Knight and Mukhtar were joined at Monday’s check presentation by Dr. Rajen Mody, a professor of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. Also present were Pilots soccer captains Tadeusz Gabryel, Justin Huttenlocher and Matt Johnson, as well as De La Salle alumnus Steve Spicuzzi, whose young son is battling cancer.

“Being faithful to our Lasallian roots, De La Salle Collegiate it proud to present C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital with this donation on behalf of our student body and our larger community,” Knight said. “There’s no more appropriate mission or ministry for us to help. May God continue to bless all the children in the world, especially those struggling with cancer.”

Coach Thaier Mukhtar and De La Salle Collegiate President John M. Knight were joined by the soccer team captains at Monday’s check presentation at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.


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