Soccer marathon returns to Howell, raises funds for cancer research

By Jennifer Ortiz
Staff Writer

HOWELL — The fifth annual Kicks 4 Kids soccer marathon will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 10 at Soldier Memorial Park, Howell. The event is being sponsored by the Frances Foundation For Kids Fighting Cancer.

The soccer marathon honors the memory of Madison Beggs of Howell, who died at the age of 12 in June 2012 following a 22-month battle with brain cancer.

Kicks 4 Kids President and Executive Director Jayne McDevitt, 15, was a close friend of Madison’s when they were in the fourth and fifth grades.

“We both attended Land O’ Pines School and were a part of the Gifted and Talented program. She always had a smile on her face,” Jayne said of her friend. “We would spend countless recesses playing soccer together.”

Jayne said when Madison was diagnosed with cancer, it affected the people who knew her and people who heard her story and never had the chance to meet her.

“She fought bravely, showed true faith, never gave up and always found the silver lining in things. Her positive attitude toward her fight led to her motto, ‘One Day at a Time,’ ” Jayne said.

The soccer marathon was created to help fight childhood cancer “One Kick at a Time” in honor of Madison’s motto.

“The event is an annual charity soccer marathon and gift auction that raises money for pediatric cancer (research),” Jayne said, adding that the event is made possible with the generous support of the community, volunteers and event board members.

“With childhood cancer being the leading cause of death by disease past infancy among children in the United States, 100 percent of our proceeds go toward organizations that are tirelessly working to change this fact. With great attendance, support and participation, we may not be able to change the world, but we most definitely would be changing someone’s world,” Jayne said.

Those who attend the Sept. 10 event can expect to have a fun-filled day, with more than just soccer.

“We have a gift auction, music, carnival games, a 50/50 raffle, a dunk tank, food, inflatables, face painting, an Elks soccer shoot-out and more. Above all, there will be hundreds of smiling faces enjoying themselves for a good cause,” Jayne said, adding that $90,000 has been raised for pediatric cancer research in the event’s first four years.

“We are very excited because this year we are expecting to pass our $100,000 mark,” she said.

Proceeds from the soccer marathon will benefit the Frances Foundation For Kids Fighting Cancer, pediatric cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation.

General admission to the soccer marathon is free. The fee to register a team is $200, or $150 and a gift basket. To register a team, contact Jeff at coachjeff59@gmail.com

Travel teams, recreational teams or teams created just for the event are accepted. Teams may be male, female or co-ed. Registration will close around Aug. 24.

Kicks 4 Kids is seeking sponsorships and/or gift basket donations. For sponsorship information, email jmcdevitt100@gmail.com

Anyone interested in providing a gift basket may contact Tracy at rhalter@optonline.net

“We will be starting to look for volunteers at the end of August,” Jayne said, adding that a link for volunteer opportunities will be posted at www.madisonbeggsk4k.wix.com/soccer