The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center goes gold for Kick Childhood Cancer Awareness Night at BBVA Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. as the Houston Dynamo take on Orlando City SC, a professional soccer club in Orlando, Florida. During the match, the Houston Dynamo will recognize childhood cancer survivors and their families in a themed title night.
We are proud to share this special night with soccer fans and young cancer survivors and their families. Bringing awareness to childhood cancers is an important step in helping us end cancer."
Richard Gorlick, M.D., division head and chair of Pediatrics, MD Anderson Cancer Center
The celebration of Childhood Cancer Awareness is part of Major League Soccer (MLS) Works – the social responsibility platform of the MLS – and Children's Oncology Group. The Houston Dynamo and MD Anderson will have a variety of activities before and during the Sept. 21 Soccer Kicks Cancer game presented by MD Anderson.
"The Dynamo and MD Anderson have teamed up for one goal – to end cancer – and we are excited to shine a spotlight on the important work of ending childhood cancer," said John Walker, Dynamo President of Business Operations. "We look forward to creating a truly memorable night for Dynamo fans, MD Anderson staff and patients, and everyone involved on Saturday as we work together to kick childhood cancer."
As part of Soccer Kicks Cancer night, Branko Cuglievan, MD., an assistant professor of Pediatrics Patient Care at MD Anderson, and one of his patients will participate in the traditional "First Kick" on the field, while patients and their families cheer them on from special seats throughout the stadium. Other activities include:
- MD Anderson volunteers will distribute giveaways: fans, bandanas and pens under an MD Anderson branded tent
- Fans can register for MD Anderson's Boot Walk and join the Children's Cancer Hospital "Golden Boots" team
- MD Anderson pediatric patients will take part in a special "Dream Team" experience where they will wear custom capes and walk out onto the field with Dynamo players
- Prior to the National Anthem, MD Anderson pediatric patients, family members and clinical staff will participate in a pre-game experience by carrying a Children's Art Project custom-designed banner onto the field
- MD Anderson's Children's Art Project will sell product with patient-inspired artwork. Net proceeds will benefit patient programs for children with cancer
- Players will wear gold captain's armbands, gold ribbon jersey patches and gold warm-up uniforms, while coaches and technical staff will wear Kick Childhood Cancer pins on the sidelines. A commemorative gold Adidas Nativo Questra 2019 Official Match Ball will be used during the game, and gold corner flags and goal nets will be featured on the field. The uniforms will be auctioned off, and a percentage of the proceeds will benefit MD Anderson
- A video featuring an MD Anderson pediatric patient will play on the video board during the game
- In-game LED signage will display childhood cancer awareness messaging, as well as game programs that will be distributed to fans
- The Houston Dynamo team store will sell custom MD Anderson and Houston Dynamo t-shirts, and will donate 25% of proceeds from each shirt back to MD Anderson
- Concession stands will offer healthy menu items, approved by MD Anderson dieticians
Earlier in the week, MD Anderson patients interacted with and learned ball–control movements from Houston Dynamo and Dash players at the hospital's ProFit event –a program that focuses on the benefits of exercise for pediatric cancer patients and encourages them to stay active during treatment.
"This partnership is more than just teaching our patients about soccer," said Keri Schadler, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatric Research at MD Anderson and developer of ProFit. "Houston Dynamo is committed to raising awareness and helping us in this fight to end childhood cancers."