Hundreds of Mercer County and Central Kentucky soccer players rallied together to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by participating in the Soccer Kicks for Cancer. On May 4, kids gathered at Anderson-Dean Park in Mercer County for their kickoff, which featured coaches and players from the men's and women's teams at Centre College. Each participant was encouraged to get 2,000 touches of a soccer ball over a 10-day period and the event concluded with the end-of-season bash May 20. More than $16,000 has been collected by the 16 teams participating.

Mercer players participated on behalf of Drew Angel, 8, a soccer player from Mercer County who was diagnosed with stage 3 Burkitt's lymphoma in October of 2005. He underwent intensive chemotherapy and is now in remission.

Cindy Angel, an event organizer and Drew's mother, said that to raise the money, the children wrote personal letters, went door to door, held bake sales, made signs and had tables set up for donations.

Local businesses gave prizes for top individual fund-raisers. For example, Anderson-Dean Park donated a private pool party to the top two fund-raising teams.

Funds are still coming in from soccer clubs all over the country, though Mercer County is expected to be one this year's top fund-raising groups.



Hundreds of Central Kentucky youth soccer players are participating in Soccer Kicks for Cancer in honor of 8-year-old lymphoma survivor Drew Angel.

The program is a partnership among the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, US Youth Soccer, Kentucky Youth Soccer Association and the U.S. National Soccer Players Association that combines soccer training and fund-raising to help find a cure for lymphoma, leukemia and other blood cancers widespread among children.

In October, Drew was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma and immediately hospitalized to begin chemotherapy treatment at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville. He is now in remission and playing with his team from the Mercer Youth Soccer Association. Drew's team, which is coached by his dad, and others from Mercer and the Central Kentucky Soccer Club launched Soccer Kicks for Cancer on May 4 and will conclude the skill development training and fund-raising on May 20.

Drew's parents, Rick and Cindy Angel, are spearheading the program, which provides such training tools as an exclusive training video featuring members of the U. S. National Soccer Team and prominent college and pro coaches.

On May 4 the kick off began with Centre College coaches and players sharing skills and making a great evening of fun for the participating players