CARIBOU, Maine — September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and plans are in the works to use a day full of soccer games to raise awareness and funds to help fight the disease and pay tribute to a local boy who died of bone cancer in 2016.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Caribou Middle School boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will take on Presque Isle Middle School Blue at 10 a.m. Later in the day, the Caribou High School girls’ varsity and boys’ junior varsity teams will face Foxcroft Academy at 1 p.m., while the varsity boys and JV girls will play at 3 p.m.
During the contests, Viking players will wear special gold-colored jerseys or socks as a tribute to Zach Gagnon, a Caribou student who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in 2013 and passed away in October of 2016 at the age of 13.
A little more than a month before Gagnon’s passing, Caribou Middle School soccer teams organized an impromptu fundraiser on the boy’s behalf that collected approximately $4,000. The funds were given to Zach’s mother, Peggy Gagnon, to help with medical and other expenses.
This year’s fundraising efforts will be donated to Super Zach’s Hope Fund, an account that was set up via the American Childhood Cancer Organization by members of Gagnon’s family to help Maine children and families continue the fight against childhood cancer.
Organizers are hoping to match the original fundraiser amount of $4,000. Donation buckets will be placed at the venue entrance, at the concession stand and at local businesses. Additionally, members of the high school soccer teams will be “passing the bucket” for donations at halftime of each game.
Any individual, group, or business that would like to make an online donation may do so at www.acco.org/zach, using the hashtag “#play4zach” in the comments section so that donations may be attributed to this fundraiser.
Gold is traditionally recognized as the color associated with childhood cancer awareness. Spectators attending the Sept. 29 games are encouraged to wear gold.