MLS players and program ambassadors Logan Pause, Mehdi Ballouchy, Jason Hernandez and Michael Lahoud team up in the fight against childhood cancer
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Major League Soccer and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® are giving soccer fans across the country something to cheer about Sept. 18 - 25 during Goals for St. Jude Week, a week-long celebration that asks fans to help kick cancer and support St. Jude, one of the world's premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other deadly childhood diseases.
The program is part of the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Soccer Kicks Cancer campaign, and features Goals for St. Jude ambassadors Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), Mehdi Ballouchy (New York Red Bulls), Jason Hernandez (San Jose Earthquakes) and Michael Lahoud (Chivas USA). The players recently toured the hospital for a special visit with some of the league's youngest fans.
"When I toured St. Jude, I saw it was a place of hope. The staff members were so warm and loving to the patients and their families," said Pause. "My goal in the fight against childhood cancer is to help St. Jude help patients beat cancer and be able to live life to the fullest."
Throughout the Goals for St. Jude Week and the month of September, PSAs about St. Jude will run in-stadium and on broadcasts featuring Pause, Ballouchy, Hernandez and Lahoud. Additionally, the Seattle Sounders will take part in Goals for St. Jude Week by joining the other four organizations in hosting their own Goals for St. Jude night. During those games, St. Jude patients will join the players and their respective teams for special pre-game activities including joining the team's warm up and a team jersey presentation. The activities are designed to raise awareness among soccer fans for the lifesaving work being done at St. Jude.
"Goals for St. Jude Week is a remarkable opportunity to share the lifesaving mission of St. Jude with thousands of loyal soccer fans around the world," said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. "Thank you to Major League Soccer for joining us in our goal of kicking childhood cancer."
During their visit to the hospital, the players toured the hospital and met with patients and doctors. St. Jude patient Juan, a MLS soccer fan, was thrilled to meet the players. A native of Argentina, Juan was one when he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a type of cancer found in the eye. Today, 14-year-old Juan is cancer free and returns to St. Jude yearly for checkups. Having played soccer since he was nine, he aspires to become a professional player.
"I enjoyed meeting Juan. He is a special guy with a wealth of passion for soccer," said Lahoud. "I am glad St. Jude was there to help him beat cancer. It is my wish that Juan achieves his lifelong dream of being a professional soccer player."
Fans can join MLS and St. Jude and help kids like Juan beat cancer by participating in Goals for St. Jude Week. For an inside look at exclusive videos and photos of Goals for St. Jude ambassadors or to make a donation online, visit stjude.org/goals.
About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The hospital's research has helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the institution opened to almost 80 percent today. It is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children, and no family ever pays St. Jude for care. For more information, go to www.stjude.org and follow St. Jude on www.facebook.com/stjude and www.twitter.com/stjude.
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Major League Soccer's 16th season, which will feature 18 clubs each playing 34 regular season matches, kicked off on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. The 18 clubs are: Chicago Fire; Chivas USA; 2010 MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids; Columbus Crew; D.C. United; FC Dallas; Houston Dynamo; LA Galaxy; New York Red Bulls; New England Revolution; Philadelphia Union; Real Salt Lake; San Jose Earthquakes; Seattle Sounders FC; Sporting Kansas City; Toronto FC; and, in their inaugural seasons, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps. An expansion team in Montreal will debut in 2012. For more information about MLS, log on to the League's official website at www.MLSsoccer.com.
About MLS W.O.R.K.S.
MLS W.O.R.K.S. is Major League Soccer's community outreach initiative dedicated to addressing important social issues affecting young people and serves as a platform for League and club philanthropic programs. MLS W.O.R.K.S. seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. For more information visit the website at www.MLSsoccer.com/works.
SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital