GK coach Chris Sharpe's sister, Greta, another breast cancer survivor
The color pink will be prominently displayed Saturday throughout Dick's Sporting Goods Park, part of Major League Soccer's breast cancer awareness campaign, which is an element of the Soccer Kicks Cancer platform.
For Colorado Rapids assistant goalkeeper coach Chris Sharpe, the day will be greeted with a smile, knowing that his sister, Greta, has overcome stage one of the terrible disease as a result of her early detection through the numerous awareness initiatives world-wide.
It was this past July when Chris received a call on his way to the stadium from his 28-year-old sister from their hometown of Sydney, Australia. Greta asked Chris to pull off to the side of the road and proceeded to explained that eight weeks prior, she had found a lump in her breast and went to get it checked out. She had just received her biopsy results, which revealed that the lump was, indeed, cancerous.
Chris left the next week for Australia and went with his sister to the oncologist. It was there that they realized that while the average age of breast cancer is much older than 28, some females had been detected as young as 13 years old.
Following her double mastectomy, doctors informed Greta that she was in the clear.
"It hadn't spread," Chris said. "They caught it early enough, which is wonderful. The doctors told her that she didn't need to go the full course of chemo, but she wanted to knock it on the head."
Greta opted for a form of chemotherapy that required an injection every 28 days for two years to ensure the cancer is completely gone.
His sister's story is the reason Chris is looking forward to seeing the color pink on Saturday.
"For me, personally, this month has a little bit more of a meaning now," Chris said. "We've all had friends and family affected one way or another by this, but being involved in it so much now as far my sister is concerned, it really struck a chord. So I really want to help in any way I can to get the word out."
This was not his first experience of cancer affecting someone close to him. One of Chris's best friends, Philip Jackson (PJ), lost his mother to breast cancer in 2010. The two run a goalkeeping academy and have run an auction fundraiser for the past three years in honor of PJ's mom. This year, they changed the name of their fund to Jackson-Sharpe Scholarship Cancer Research Fund, with 100% of donations going to breast cancer research through the Cancer League of Colorado.
"This month is about the awareness of this disease," Chris said. "It's something that touches a lot more people than we actually realize. That everyone associates the month of October with pink and breast cancer awareness, I think it's fantastic. My sister caught it early enough. So it's just extremely important for women, in general, to be aware and make sure that they get checked over."