FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Every year when September hits the New England Revolution see gold as they step onto the field at Gillette Stadium, reminding them of all the pediatric patients who are bravely fighting cancer every single day.
The Revs and MLS have partnered together for seven consecutive years for a specific match dedicated to these children to help them ‘Kick Childhood Cancer.’ New England will host the Montreal Impact on September 23for this year's annual ‘Kick Childhood Cancer’ game.
“I think it’s really important,” said Brandon Bye. “MLS is always great around this cause. I think it’s great to bring these things to light. I’m excited for it.”
This year’s match will look a little different, though. While there will still be gold accents throughout the stadium, including the gold corner flags, ribbons on jerseys, lighthouse color, captain’s armband, goal nets and soccer ball accents, the primary change from previous years is that there will not be any supporters in the stadium.
Without fans or pediatric patients present due to the current circumstances of COVID-19, it makes it even more important to bring awareness to these brave children who are fighting cancer.
“If I had my choice, we’d do it every game,” said Kelyn Rowe. “It’s just one of those things that unfortunately this year, we’re not able to have not only fans, but the kids come to the games and the families and create these moments.”
But as we all are this year, Rowe and the Revs are adapting. The day before the 'Kick Childhood Cancer' game, on September 22, Rowe and teammate Matt Turner will host a virtual meet and greet with eight NEGU children and their families. Then, at the match, cardboard cutouts of Rowe and Turner will sit in Section 141 of Gillette Stadium alongside cutouts of NEGU Crew children and their siblings.
Those cutouts will also be joined by 24 cutouts of Mass General Hospital for Children patients and their siblings.
“We’re looking forward to creating as much awareness as we can," said Rowe. "Hopefully the kids that are watching can get a little smile on their face.”
There are several initiatives through which fans can help generate awareness themselves, spread inspiration to these children and help fight pediatric cancer.
Rowe, who founded Kelyn’s NEGU Crew – which in partnership with the Jessie Rees Foundation supports children and families fighting battles with cancer – chose to start an initiative for Kick Childhood Cancer Month in September. Fans can pledge money for each mile that Rowe runs in September games with all proceeds going to the Jessie Rees Foundation.
“With Cory Tomlinson, the guy who helped me create Kelyn’s NEGU Crew, we created a little campaign that was how many miles I run in the game, which he found to be very funny. I found it to be very tiring,” joked Rowe.
“People can pledge these first six games that we had back in our own stadiums. We ended up hitting just over 30 miles and I believe we’re about $1,000 from our goal. We still have a chance. Please donate.”
Additionally, there are more opportunities for MLS fans to get involved with Kick Childhood Cancer Month on social media.
MLS challenges fans to take to social media to raise money to combat childhood cancer. For every person that supports this campaign by using #KickChildhoodCancer on social media channels, MLS will donate $1 to Children’s Oncology Group for each post that includes the hashtag.
Fans can elevate their social media with a message to increase the donation.
Supporters are encouraged to share “Messages of Hope” to help inspire and motivate local pediatric cancer patients as they continue their journey in the fight against cancer. For every message posted that uses the hashtag #KickChildhoodCancer, Continental Tire will donate $25 in celebration of the League’s milestone 25th season to fund pediatric cancer research (up to $50,000) during the month of September.
There are so many ways to get involved to support pediatric cancer patients, especially during Kick Childhood Cancer Month. Turn to social media to get involved, and stay tuned for more details surrounding the Revolution’s official 'Kick Childhood Cancer' match on September 23 against the Montreal Impact.