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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post
Newsletter

Soccer fundraiser kicks cancer

Junior+Harriss+Miller+gives+a+thumbs+up+to+senior+varsity+boys+soccer+team+member+Ben+Cha+during+the+Kicks+Against+Cancer+bake+sale+on+Feb.+31+in+Manzanita+Hall.+Fundraiser+proceeds+go+to+Camp+Okizu%2C+a+nonprofit+organization+that+organizes+camp+sessions+for+children+with+cancer+and+their+families+in+Northern+California.
Desiree Luo
Junior Harriss Miller gives a thumbs up to senior varsity boys soccer team member Ben Cha during the Kicks Against Cancer bake sale on Feb. 31 in Manzanita Hall. Fundraiser proceeds go to Camp Okizu, a nonprofit organization that organizes camp sessions for children with cancer and their families in Northern California.

The varsity soccer teams sold baked goods and merchandise for the annual Kicks Against Cancer fundraiser from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2.

Proceeds go to Camp Okizu, a nonprofit organization that organizes camp sessions for children with cancer and their families in Northern California. 

Team members sold homemade and store bought treats during lunch throughout the week in Manzanita Hall. A final sale for treats and Kicks Against Cancer T-shirts occurred before the varsity girls’ and boys’ games on Feb. 2. 

The girls lost 3-1 to Notre Dame, and the boys tied 2-2 with King’s Academy. 

Game attendees and team members wrote the names of cancer survivors on the shirts during Friday’s games. Cameron Jones (9) dedicated his shirt to his late grandmother, who had skin cancer.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of people donating,” Cameron said. “A lot of people need help with treatment because it’s really, really expensive to get treated for cancer.” 

The teams also partnered with Panda Express. The El Paseo location donated 20 percent of sales from customers with a Kicks Against Cancer flier on Feb. 1. 

Seniors Ryan Barth, Anya Chauhan, Cynthia Wang and Jack Yang and juniors Claire Anderson and Kylie Anderson led this year’s initiatives, which included organizing sales and creating promotional posters.   

The varsity girls soccer team started Kicks Against Cancer in 2009 as a one-day event to raise awareness for childhood cancer. Director of Standardized Testing and Scheduling Troy Thiele coached the team that pioneered the event.

Frosh Cameron Jones and junior varsity boys soccer player Jonathan Wang wear Kicks Against Cancer T-shirts. Cameron dedicated his shirt to his late grandmother, who had skin cancer. (Desiree Luo)

“One of the things that I wanted to instill with the team members was that they were part of something special and privileged, and to pay that privilege forward,” Thiele said. “I had a real strong leadership group of seniors who ran with that idea. Cancer had touched a lot of people in the Harker community at that time, and it was big on students’ minds.”

Ashley Barth (‘22) helped lead the event as a varsity girls soccer team member. She attended Camp Okizu as a childhood cancer survivor. Her younger sister Natalie Barth (10) said donations can help the camp continue rebuilding from the North Complex fire in 2020.  

“I have a personal connection to Kicks Against Cancer,” Natalie said. “I go to Camp Okizu, so ever since it burned down, it hasn’t really felt the same because they don’t have a place they can settle into. Raising money for the camp can help them get to a place where they can settle and find that sense of community.”

Anya led poster making this year. She remembers watching Ashley lead the fundraiser two years ago, she said. 

“Ashley was one of my favorite seniors when I was a sophomore,” Anya said. “The way that she managed to pull off Kicks Against Cancer, how much success we had and how much we raised for such a good cause meant a lot for me and inspired me to want to do the same.”

For Thiele, the event remains a topic of conversation at alumni reunions and local soccer games. While refereeing a match two weeks ago, he met a coach whose son Kicks Against Cancer had helped years before.   

“I’m grateful that Harker students continue to realize that we come from a place of privilege and that we have the ability to impact people,” Thiele said.

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About the Contributors
Desiree Luo, Aquila Co-Managing Editor
Desiree Luo (12) is a co-managing editor for Harker Aquila, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, Desiree hopes to interview new sources and sharpen her writing. In her free time, she enjoys watching black and white movies, following Bay Area sports teams and browsing bookshelves at Barnes and Noble .
Gabe Sachse, Sports Columnist
Gabe Sachse (11) is a sports columnist for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is his third year on staff. This year, Gabe wishes to write some investigative pieces and interview more members of the Harker community. In his free time, he plays for Harker's football and baseball teams and enjoys reading comic books.

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