Raising $45,000 in one month to fund breast cancer screening for uninsured and under-insured women is an amazing feat for a spunky bunch of soccer-playing elementary through high school kids and their families. But the impressive Oct. 2017 total is just the tip of the iceberg.
Since the first Goals-for-a-Cure effort 10 years ago in October of 2008, the approximately 650 members of the Santa Clara Sporting Club (SCSC) have raised more than $320,000 for El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, to fund its Breast Health Center. The 2017 total broke the 2014, 2015 and 2016 records of $40,000 each year.
“Our Goals-For-A-Cure program was inspired by the strong parents of Santa Clara Sporting players who have battled breast cancer. In the honor of those impacted by breast cancer, our 36 teams wear pink jerseys for the entire month of October, which is national breast cancer awareness month,” said SCSC Director Natasha Azevedo. “As a youth soccer organization, it is important to reinforce the value of coming together to help others.”
The $40,000 raised in 2016 funded 110 screening mammograms, 16 breast ultrasounds, 59 diagnostic mammograms, 59 diagnostic ultrasounds and 16 biopsies. Out of the 16 biopsies performed, four came out positive for breast cancer.
The top three 2017 fund-raising teams gathered Feb. 12 at SCSC headquarters for a celebratory pizza dinner. The top teams are the 2010 boys, who raised $4,000; the 2003 girls, who raised $3,744; and the 2007 boys, who raised $3,410. The players presented the $45,000 check to representatives from El Camino Hospital Foundation.
“It’s been amazing. The efforts these kids put in every year make it possible for the breast cancer screening program to exist. The club is our biggest fundraiser,” said Darcie Kiyan, Director of Annual Giving & Operations for El Camino Hospital Foundation.
“I am just so impressed with the level of participation and the fund-raising success from the young soccer players from Santa Clara Sporting,” said Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor, offering her congratulations.
The reputation of SCSC is a draw for collegiate soccer program recruiters offering soccer scholarships, and Gillmor’s daughter, now a high school senior, was recruited from the club as a sophomore by UC Santa Barbara. Twenty-six SCSC players were recruited by colleges for 2017 – 2018.
Leeland High School, San Jose, sophomore Michael Esmaili was the top 2017 youth fundraiser, raising about $1,000 for his 2001 B green team (meaning boys born in 2001).
“My grandma has cancer, and I just want to help people who have it,” said Esmaili. “The pain my family goes through, I don’t want to have other people go through the same thing.”
Each of the 36 teams decided how to raise funds, such as carwashes, bake sales and simply asking for donations. Coach Luis Rosas’ 2010 B team of 16 seven-year-old boys, took a novel and delicious approach that made it the top fundraising team.
The team’s families have roots beyond the U.S. to Mexico, El Salvador and India, for example. At every practice last October, the families took turns bringing their favorite ethnic food dishes. The other families donated money for the meal.
“We tasted each other’s food and now know more about their cultures,” said Coach Rosas. “It was our first time fundraising, and it brought our team and families together. We bonded more since that fundraiser.”
“It feels great to be able to help underserved women,” said Coach Rosas.
To find out if you qualify for El Camino Hospital’s breast screening program, visit www.elcaminohospital.org/services/womens-health/specialty-programs/breast-health/free-mammogram-program or call 800-216-5556.
For information about the Santa Clara Sporting Club, 282 Brokaw Rd., and its weekend bingo games, visit www.santaclarasporting.com. Call the office at (408) 844-8570. For bingo information, call (408) 844-8571.