Everett girls soccer team kicks in against cancer

EVERETT — It was just two weeks before the final game in a losing season.

The members of Everett High School’s girls soccer team came up with a strategy for their Oct. 28 match against Oak Harbor.

It wasn’t about winning or losing, but making the end of their season stand for something bigger than the final score.

The school’s volleyball team had a long tradition of organizing Dig for the Cure event, an annual cancer fundraiser. But due to the remodeling of the high school’s gym, that event was cancelled this year.

“It was always a really big event,” said Anna Simonelli, a senior and the soccer team’s outside midfielder.

Team members quickly came up with a plan to sponsor a fundraiser of their own, called Kick for the Cure, during the team’s final game at Everett’s Lincoln Field.

“They said we may go out and lose, but if it brings awareness, it doesn’t matter,” said Faith Simonelli, Anna Simonelli’s mother.

“Every one of those girls has been touched by cancer, a relative, neighbor, or church member,” Faith Simonelli said. “They each had a story.”

Bailey Formon, a junior who plays center back on the team, said her own grandmother was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. Another team member’s aunt is being treated for breast cancer. Faith Simonelli was diagnosed with uterine cancer when she was 27, shortly after her daughter’s birth.

Team members had a lot of work to get done in the two weeks before their final match: designing posters and special T-shirts they would wear the night of the game and distributing flyers around the city announcing the event.

“It was really amazing how much effort and time the team put into this,” Formon said. “We had never done anything like this before. We thought it was cool to give back.”

Team members wanted the money raised during the event to go to a local organization assisting cancer patients, the Providence General Foundation.

Donations like those from the Kick for a Cure event help provide small grants to cancer patients and their families experiencing financial hardship during their cancer treatments, said Tina Gilson, the foundation’s director of annual giving.

When game day came on Oct.28, people started showing up more than three hours before the 7 p.m. start of the match to begin decorating around the field, Anna Simonelli said.

During the game, the 4-year-old brother of a team member ran around with a jar asking people for donations. The event raised $960.60 from both online donations and those made during the game.

The game ended with a 1-0 win for Everett. “I scored that goal,” Formon said. “It was my first goal for my high school team ever. It was really exciting.”

Formon also had a prediction. “I have no doubt we’ll do this again next year,” she said. “It was really fun doing it and preparing for it.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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