(Full release:) Edison, NJ -- September 20, 2006
On October 1, hundreds of young soccer enthusiasts will kick off to bring support to families living with pediatric cancer and blood disorders. St. Joseph High School will host the third annual "Kicks for Kids," a soccer marathon and 5K fun-run to benefit Lainie's Angels, the leading provider of in-hospital support networks for parents of children living with life-threatening illnesses.
The only fundraiser of its kind that's for kids, by kids, the event heightens participants' understanding of and sensitivity toward classmates and friends with childhood cancers by calling on them to raise funds and awareness within their communities. Childhood cancers and blood disorders are more prevalent than often thought; today, over 50,000 families in the U.S. alone are living with this reality. For many Edison youth, this painful truth hit home when 12-year old Lainie Afendoulis lost her battle with bone cancer six years ago. Just three years after that, 500 local youth embraced "Kicks for Kids" and took to the fields.
"There is no better way to demonstrate the blessings of good health to a child than by having them spend the day running, kicking, and jumping" says Stathi Afendoulis, founder of Lainie's Angels. "Kicks for Kids is a gentle reminder of how lucky we are."
Like many charity events, this one too has a bit of celebrity flare with special guests to include major league soccer team the New York Red Bulls (formerly the NY MetroStars) and local singing talent, Justina and the Twilight Blues Band of Edison. The daylong festivities will end with a spectacular sight as hundreds of balloons will be launched in honor and memory of loved ones battling cancers.
"When we launch the balloons, I remind the kids that each balloon represents someone who can't play as they do. With hundreds of balloons under that net, it's a powerful lesson," adds Afendoulis.
A true community affair, "Kicks for Kids" is sponsored by EUSA, Rovers Soccer International, and Lainie's Angels. Community underwriters include Lotito Foods, Emily's of New York, Edison First, and Edison PBA Outreach among others. Businesses providing in-kind donations and support are Edison Quik Shop, Country Club Deli, and The Bear Rock Cafe of South Plainfield.
"On October 1st, it's important that all the soccer youth of Edison and New Jersey be provided with the opportunity to make a positive impact with their feet," says Spencer Rockman, founder of EUSA and Rovers Soccer International. "We must go to great lengths to ensure our young players use this opportunity to transform their footprints on the field to good deeds in the world."
Lainie's Angels is the leading provider of in-hospital support networks for parents of children living with cancer and blood disorders. Founded by parents who have faced this crisis and want to ease the experience for others, Lainie's Angels forges innovative partnerships with hospitals and other institutions to provide resources to parents; educate healthcare staff on the needs of parents with children living with cancer and blood disorders; and reduce the stress of families facing difficult decisions. Lainie's Angels works with healthcare staff and counselors to create a network of peer support for these families that will serve to educate, explain complex medical information, and offer ongoing guidance and support.