MLS, MLS WORKS – the League’s social responsibility platform – and Continental Tire are teaming up to support Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with the 8th annual “Kick Childhood Cancer” campaign to raise awareness of pediatric cancers and fundraise for childhood cancer research.
The Kick Childhood Cancer campaign will promote and benefit Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Foundation, the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research, uniting more than 10,000 experts in childhood cancer at more than 200 leading children’s hospitals around the world. The Kick Childhood Cancer campaign has enabled COG to strengthen research efforts across the entire spectrum of pediatric cancers, including Project: EveryChild – a unique project aiming to capture the biology and outcome data of every child diagnosed with cancer.
The cost of a single enrollment into a clinical trial such as Project: EveryChild can approach $10,000 per patient. According to COG, MLS’ Kick Childhood Cancer campaign has helped to offset the costs of more than 33,000 clinical trial enrollments to-date, with an expected 40,000 to be enrolled by the end of 2021.
“As one of the most vulnerable populations affected by the ongoing pandemic, now more than ever our continued support of Children Oncology Group’s research and clinical trials is crucial in the fight against childhood cancer,” said JoAnn Neale, President & Chief Administrative Officer, MLS. “MLS is proud to collaborate with Continental Tire and MLS clubs league-wide to provide comfort and support to pediatric cancer patients and their families as part of the 8th annual Kick Childhood Cancer campaign.”
As part of this year’s campaign, MLS Clubs have created custom pajama bottoms to be distributed to local pediatric cancer patients as a token of comfort while they continue their journey in the fight against cancer. Continental Tire will also amplify campaign efforts with an inspirational Kick Childhood Cancer video series hosted by MLS player and childhood cancer survivor, Matt Lampson. The series will feature empowering stories from current and former patients, families, doctors, caretakers, and community members who aided children on their road to recovery.
Fans are encouraged to support the Kick Childhood Cancer campaign by tweeting inspirational messages with the hashtag #KickChildhoodCancer during the month of September. For every post featuring the #KickChildhoodCancer hashtag on Twitter from September 1-30, 2021, Continental Tire will donate $1 (up to a maximum of $50,000) to COG.
“We are proud to partner with MLS WORKS on the Kick Childhood Cancer campaign for a second year,” said Travis Roffler, Director of Marketing, Continental Tire. “Through last year’s partnership, we were not only able to raise more awareness, but also contribute important funds through Kick Childhood Cancer to help strengthen the Children’s Oncology Group's research efforts. Our hope is that we can make an even bigger impact this year for the children and their families in the United States and Canada who are affected by childhood cancer.”
MLS and Continental Tire will partner with MLS clubs to “surprise and delight” pediatric cancer patients and health care providers with unique experiences and acts of kindness throughout the month of September. Messages of hope generated from players, coaches, and staff will be used to produce customized blankets which will be distributed during the holidays to provide comfort to patients during treatments and hospital stays.
Throughout the month of September, MLS, its member clubs, and players will drive awareness of the campaign through in-stadium activations, league social and digital channels, and on national and regional broadcasts. Highlighted by the internationally recognized gold color for childhood cancer, MLS Kick Childhood Cancer matches will feature:
- A commemorative Kick Childhood Cancer edition MLS adidas Nativo 21 Official Match Ball used in match play
- Kick Childhood Cancer adidas Pre-Match Jerseys will be worn by players during pregame and warmups on game day as well as on the bench, side lines and during training and in community outreach efforts
- Gold corner flags
- Gold goal nets
- Gold captain’s armbands
- Gold ribbon jersey patches
- PRO referees will sport wristbands featuring a Kick Childhood Cancer ribbon
A holiday auction consisting of game-used, autographed jerseys and soccer balls from September matches and other items donated by Continental Tire will provide an additional fundraising opportunity later in the season.
Fans can purchase a special KCC edition Pre-Match adidas jerseys on MLSstore.com starting August 31. MLS will donate all royalties it receives from Kick Childhood Cancer edition jerseys sold through official retail partners to COG through December 31, 2021. Fans may also donate directly to COG HERE.
A sampling of the way clubs are activating during Kick Childhood Cancer month will be featured on MLSsoccer.com, @MLS and @MLS WORKS social handles, as well as club social platforms.
For more information on Kick Childhood Cancer, COG or other MLS WORKS initiatives, visit MLSsoccer.com/mlsworks.