Around 75 participants of the Stettler area, from age five and up, defied the heat and took to the soccer field for a good cause over the weekend, raising just under $4000 for cancer research.
The first annual Kicking Cancer fundraiser hit some road blocks but still proved to be a successful initial year.
“It went well,” said Alicia Shirreff, the lead organizer of the event, “one of our teams backed out last minute, so that wasn’t good.”
Shirreff said that the low number of players was a little disappointing but that extremely hot weather also called a lot of the daytime games off. She said that Friday evening’s games went off very well, with many participants and games going well into the early morning.
Kicking Cancer was initially scheduled to be 40 or more hours of continuous soccer, but the heat reduced the total number of hours played.
“We had a total of 75 participants, and we all had a fun time,” she said.
“A lot of people want to do it again next year,” said Shirreff. “We will have more help organizing next year and plan to start organizing in December.”
“I was happy with how it went, and glad that everyone had fun,” she said.
Another area she plans to focus on for next year will be promoting the event across the province rather than just the local area.
Shirreff set out with a goal to combine her favourite sport and raise money for cancer research, a devastating disease that affects virtually everyone in one way or another and she accomplished her main objective and everyone had fun at the same time.
Shirreff said that the highlight of the games was from 7 p.m. on Friday evening to about 1 a.m. Saturday morning as the group of over 50 players were charged and enthusiastic about the cause.
She said that they stopped in the early hours of the morning because some parents had concerns about playing throughout the night.
The majority of the players came from the U14, U16 and U18 Stettler teams.
“I decided to raise money for cancer research because it is a disease that affects everyone and gets a lot of support,” she said.
Personally, Shirreff says that she has had a handful of family members who passed away after battling cancer.
She said she was happy with the amount raised for the meaningful cause and has hopes to see numbers increase next year.