When Bethlehem Steel FC takes to the pitch at Goodman Stadium against Keystone rival Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday, September 24, the team will be playing for much more than three points.
This month in honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, Steel FC players and staff have gone gold on their social media accounts in hopes of raising awareness and funds for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley. Along with selling special general admission ticket packages with over half of the sale going straight to the foundation, Steel FC will be holding a silent auction for the player’s special gold warmups and armbands.
Fans will see many special faces when enter Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University this weekend, as Steel FC players will be escorted onto the pitch by kid warriors from PCFLV. This month, the players have been paired up with kids from the organization and will finally get to meet at the match. Following the match, the club will host a meet-and-greet pizza party for the PCFLV kids and their families that will include some surprises for the club’s special guests.
Some of their amazing stories can be seen below.
Salem Y, 9, is one of four children that include her 10-year-old brother along with her triplet sisters. Salem’s father is a coach for a local coed club and according to the family and the whole group cannot wait to meet the club and Hugh.
Salem diagnosed with PNET brain cancer in November 2013. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation at CHOP she was declared 'NED', No evidence of disease, about 3 years ago. She is monitored every 6 months by MRI for any evidence of disease. Due to surgery and treatments, she has physical challenges that make playing sports difficult for her, but she loves to cheer for her sisters who play in a league.
Owen was only 11 months old when he was diagnosed in January with Bilateral Wilms Tumors (stage 5). After Owen was diagnosed, he had surgery to place his port to receive chemotherapy a week later that allowed chemo to start. Owen faced complications as doctors couldn’t perform any surgeries or biopsy done due to risk of the cancer spreading or even worse the loss of his kidney. According to Owen’s mother, many nights were spent in the hospital due to infections and fevers.
On May 30th Owen had his first surgery on his left kidney which was followed up with even more chemotherapy. In July, he had second surgery on his right kidney which was very successful. Currently Owen is not on dialysis but is still receiving chemo and will for the rest of the year.
Despite all of the many obstacles Owen has faced throughout his journey, he has held his head high and even enjoys soccer when he gets the chance.