Each year, coach Jim Ricker’s SM North boys soccer team takes on a community service project. This year it has a personal connection.
Childhood cancer awareness was the team’s service project this year and the team manager Seth Dujakovich is the connection. Seth was born with Down syndrome and in 2010 was diagnosed with pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He is now in remission and off treatment for almost three years.
Seth’s older brother, Adam, who will be the fourth in the family to graduate from SM North, is a senior and team captain.
The soccer team has been wearing gold warmup shirts with “Kids get cancer too!” on the front of the shirts. Everyone knows pink is the color for breast cancer awareness, but few people know gold is the color for childhood cancer awareness. “That’s kind of the point,” says Lise Dujakovich, Seth’s mother: that childhood cancer does not have the awareness or the funding as other types of cancer.
Seth and Noah Sanchez, a SM North freshman, also are part of a calendar project that raises money for Braden’s Hope, a local non-profit cancer organization that provides support to families in the metro. Four sports calendars featuring the Chiefs, Royals, Mavericks and Sporting KC are being sold. Seth is featured in the Chiefs calendar and Noah in the Mavericks. This is the fourth year for the calendars.
Last month, during a special night at a varsity soccer game, 10 children who are medically stable were introduced during athlete introductions and accompanies onto the field by a varsity athlete and given a gold balloon. “It was amazing,” Lise Dujakovich says. “Half the fun was watching the kids on the team. They talked about it for weeks.”
Calendars are still available from Lise Dujakovich at 913-362-0823.