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Calling young athletes: Lace up and take a stand against childhood cancer

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Kameryn Zingale is excited about her fall soccer season at Archbishop Hoban High School. She is young and healthy, but knows that not all kids are as fortunate.

That’s why she’s “lacing up” against childhood cancer by sporting special gold laces in her soccer cleats.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and young athletes across the country are showing their support of kids touched by cancer by wearing these special laces.

Kameryn is the first Akron area athlete to join the cause and is spreading the word to her teammates and beyond.

In addition to creating awareness, this is an opportunity to raise funds to support infants, children, teens and young adults battling cancer here in northeast Ohio.

Each pair of gold laces costs $5 and the profits will go to Akron Children’s Hospital’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. The center will use the money to assist families, grant wishes for patients, and support research and innovative programs.

Kameryn wanted to participate after spending her summer volunteering at Akron Children’s.

“I needed service hours for school, but can honestly say that my experience became so much more than getting my service hour requirements,” she said.

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The Hoban junior especially enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with patients on Akron Children’s cancer floor, working alongside child life specialist Brenda Powell.

“I got to sit and play with the kids, read them stories and keep them company when their parents had to step away to get a meal or take care of things at home,” Kameryn said. “I know when I was sick, I wanted my mother near me, and if you are in the hospital you appreciate as much support as possible.”

Kameryn has long thought she wanted to become a doctor and now, after such a rewarding experience, thinks she may want to become a pediatric oncologist.

But for now, it’s time for school and the start of soccer season.

“I really hope this catches on to all fall athletes,” Kameryn said. “And even though Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is September, there is no reason why winter and spring athletes could not join in as well.”

Akron Children’s has teamed up with an organization called Go4TheGoal to administer this program.

Once a team has committed to participate and has selected a game to “Lace Up,” Go4TheGoal will send laces with supportive materials such as banners, donation canisters and balloons. There is no upfront cost to the school or team.

Following the game, the team sends all donations back to Go4TheGoal to cover the retail cost of the laces and the remainder will be sent to Akron Children’s.

If you’re interested in participating, contact Mindy Aylward at Akron Children’s at 330-543-8580 (maylward@chmca.org) or Nate Mulberg at Go4TheGoal at 856-979-8384 (natemulberg@go4thegoal.org).

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