Kids are at the heart of St. Louis CITY SC’s efforts to unite the region through soccer – but for some kids, their lives are disrupted by cancer. St. Louis CITY SC, BJC HealthCare, Washington University Physicians and Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital will raise hope and awareness of childhood cancer and officially kick off Major League Soccer’s Kick Childhood Cancer campaign, presented by Continental Tire, at the club’s home match vs. FC Dallas at CITYPARK on Wednesday, August 30, ahead of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September.
Kick Childhood Cancer Night also will fundraise for childhood cancer research at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, one of the region’s top pediatric cancer centers, through the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation. The match will feature the personal stories of childhood cancer patients, families and survivors as well as BJC HealthCare and Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital professionals; these individuals will participate in special matchday moments, including:
- Matchball Delivery: Peter Mantovani, accompanied by Pro Football Hall of Famer and former St. Louis Rams Tackle Orlando Pace: Nearly four months ago, 7-year-old Peter, an avid CITY SC fan, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his left leg. Peter’s parents were watching him play soccer and noticed he was limping and shying away from the ball. X-rays and CAT scans led to a bone biopsy, indicating Peter had cancer in his tibia, or his shin bone. Peter recently received a below-the-knee amputation to remove the cancer from his body. He will continue receiving chemotherapy for the next 4-5 months and will be fitted for a prosthetic leg in 6-8 weeks. Peter can’t wait to get back out there and be an active kid again.
- Coin Toss: Dr. Amy Armstrong, Washington University Pediatric Oncologist at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital: Dr. Armstrong is a Washington University pediatric oncologist at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She serves as the director of the Solid Tumor Team and co-director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Sarcoma Program. For more than four years, she’s treated all types of solid tumors (solid mass of cancer cells) that start outside of the brain or spinal cord in kids, with specific research interests in renal tumors, sarcomas and neurofibromatosis type 1 associated malignancies. A native of St. Louis, she recently returned to the area to be close to family and the city as she raises her two kids with her husband. She is an avid sports fan and is excited to have a soccer team in St. Louis.
- Artist of the Match: Daphne Dierkes, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Art Therapy Instructor: Daphne is an art therapist who works with cancer patients at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Her goal is to provide a healing space and opportunity for the kids to explore their feelings and empower them to embrace the importance of play and creativity during their treatment process. The art therapy program is made possible thanks to generous donations to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. In her free time, Daphne enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, and working on her own art.
- Enterprise Exceptional Neighbor: Allie Hunefeld, St. Louis Children’s Child Life Specialist – Oncology: Allie has made a huge impact in the lives of her patients and their families. Her daily interactions and engagements with patients go above and beyond in prioritizing their comfort and ensuring a normalized environment. She also provides parents and caregivers invaluable support and encouragement through her thoughtful approach to care.
- Schnucks Player Pals: Patients with Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and their family members will accompany CITY SC players as they walk out onto the pitch for the national anthem.
- Enterprise Community Corner: Patients with Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, staff, caregivers and nurses will enjoy the match from this special section of CITYPARK, which at each home match is dedicated to recognizing exceptional community work in the St. Louis region.
How Fans Can Help Kick Childhood Cancer
Before, during and after the match, fans will have numerous opportunities to support Kick Childhood Cancer, including:
- Full-Stadium Mosaic: Fans attending the match are strongly encouraged to be in their seats before the 7:30 p.m. kickoff to participate in a full-stadium mosaic that will color CITYPARK energy yellow (gold), creating a moment of hope in honor of childhood cancer. Gold is the color for childhood cancer. The match will be streamed live to a watch party at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
- Jersey Auction: Fans can bid on player-signed CITY SC home kits with proceeds benefiting St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation. Bidding is open through the STL CITY app from August 30-September 1.
- Direct Donation: Fans can donate directly to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation to help support patients and families fighting pediatric cancer, and accelerate research and care in St. Louis. Fans can scan a QR code at the match or visit https://www.stlcitysc.com/donate.
- Pre-match Top: The adidas 2023 MLS Works Kick Childhood Cancer x Marvel Pre-match Top, which features a Marvel Avengers-inspired allover print, is available for purchase at CITY Pavilion and the STL CITY app. MLS will donate all wholesale royalties from this top to The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) through December 31, 2023.