Kicks For the Cure, now in its fourth year, an opportunity for Kentwood and Kentridge girls soccer to give back
By KRIS HILL
Covington Reporter Assisitant Editor
September 27, 2012 · Updated 2:10 PM
Tara Radford knows that if she needs anything she can go to the Kentwood High community and ask.
Students, parents, staff, they always step up.
“If I ask the kids at Kentwood to do something, they do it,” Radford said. “I’ve learned at Kentwood they do what’s good for the community.”
That’s especially important because since 2009 she’s organized a fundraiser called Kicks for the Cure, tying it into her husband Aaron’s job as the girls soccer coach — he also coaches the boys in the spring — with the Oct. 13 South Puget Sound League North matchup against Kentridge the culmination of the project.
It all began when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. Radford wanted to raise money that would go to help patients and she proposed the idea in August 2009 to her husband of putting together a pink game.
“Then it just snowballed,” Radford said. “It happened to be Angy (Mathena) at Kentlake, it was her first year coaching there and her mom had breast cancer, so it was a natural connection. We decided to just let the snowball roll.”
Supporter T-shirts were printed, the soccer players washed cars, sold baked treats at the first Kicks game in October 2009 and raised $4,000 that first year.
That money has gone to the MultiCare Mammogram Assistance Program in Covington, she said.
Radford did it for her mother who died three weeks after the first Kicks game.
“My mom came to the first Kicks game in a wheelchair because the chemo had knocked out the feeling in her legs,” she said. “But, she didn’t want it to be about her. We don’t just celebrate fighting breast cancer. Even though we’re wearing pink we honor anybody who has fought the battle and hopefully won.”
The week her mom died was tough because the Conquerors girls made it to the state Final Four for the first time in school history just days later. Before the game, the players wore their pink Kicks for the Cure shirts before the semi-final against Eastlake.
Radford said her mom went to many Kentwood soccer games so it was beyond emotional for her not be up in the stands.
“Aaron and I decided that this would be an annual event as long as we’re at Kentwood,” she said. “It boils down to raising as much money as I can for MultiCare.”
So far fundraising this year has gone well for Kentwood’s soccer players. They washed cars again on a Saturday two weeks ago and raised $1,200.
“The Kentwood girls busted their butts that day,” Radford said. “We do enough fundraising, the kids feel involved, they feel a sense of purpose.”
Radford set up a table and sold supporter T-shirts at Kentwood during lunches recently — 150 were purchased at $8 each. Many of the students don’t know her but bought shirts because they support the soccer team.
Last week, the Conks girls went out to area businesses and asked if owners would be willing to pay $20 for a business card sized ad in the Kicks for the Cure game day program.
This year is the first time Kentridge is involved in the effort.
Sherri Rolfs, the Chargers head coach, had previously been an assistant coach at Kentwood when Kicks for the Cure began.
“Now that I am at Kentridge we thought it would be a good opportunity to spread the Kicks game to Kentridge to get more people involved and raise more awareness and money,” Rolfs wrote in an email interview. “Our players have an opportunity to get involved in their community and give back to the world. This gets them outside their bubble.”
It is still a soccer game and with Kentwood beating Kentridge in the first matchup of the season Sept. 13 there is definitely an element of league rivalry in the game. As of Monday Kentwood was atop the division standings at 5-0 but has just three seniors on the squad.
“It will make the dynamics different as we work together toward a common goal and then have to switch gears to compete against each other’s goals,” Rolfs wrote. “It is a challenging transition for anyone to do this. Hopefully, we will see that competitors are not so much different, as they are alike. Many of them have probably had someone in their lives who has battled cancer in one form or another. It puts soccer into perspective.”
The fundraising aspect is new to the Chargers, Rolfs said, but the team is learning.
“Kentridge is just getting its feet wet on the event by selling T-shirts for the cure,” Rolfs said. “We hope to have a car wash in early October to contribute even more to the cause. Kentwood is taking the lead on the event and we are supporting in any way we can.”
Radford hopes to raise $3,000 this year. Admission to the game is free so she encourages anyone who attends to make a donation to Kicks. In addition, programs will be sold and proceeds from concessions will also go to the Kicks for the Cure cause. And there will be a bake sale at the game.
Radford said the money can make a difference. A mammogram, if a patience doesn’t have insurance, can cost as much as $1,200. In the previous three years Kicks has raised $12,000 which helped 30 women but that’s not enough for Radford, she wants to help more women get preventative care.
“I like that it stays right here in the community,” Radford said. “I’m just trying to help somebody else because I couldn’t help my mom.”
To help contact firstname.lastname@example.org or send donations to MultiCare Mammogram Assistance Program in Covington.
All three teams will play with the C teams at 11 a.m., JV at 1 p.m. and varsity at 3 p.m. at French Field.
Contact Covington Reporter Assisitant Editor Kris Hill at email@example.com or (425) 432-1209, ext. 5054.