After several moms in her soccer club, Poway Youth Soccer, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, Pam Bickel decided to take action.
"It was one of those things," she says. "Not another person.
"Our club had lost a mom a year back, and two to three other moms had been diagnosed."
So, the Kickin' It Challenge was born. A soccer tournament for kids, the Kickin' It Challenge features more than 100 youth soccer teams who compete in a weekend-long, pink-themed event, with all proceeds going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Bickel created the event with founding sponsor soccerloco. Everything in the tournament is pink. Pink nets, pink lines, pink uniforms, pink shoes. Pam says she encourages the kids to wear as much pink as possible.
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"You never knew there were so many shades of pink," she says. "The kids really take it to the next level."
Draped in uniforms with photos of cancer survivors or family members they've lost, kids play in the tournament for loved ones and, in some cases, even a coach. One year, a woman who only three weeks earlier underwent surgery to treat cancer coached her 9-year-old son's team in the tournament.
"These gals are in the middle of treatment, and they are still driving their kids to soccer practice," Bickel says. "It [the tournament] makes the women going through the treatment feel so honored."
But it's not just the cancer victims who benefit from the event. Bickel says it is common for kids to know someone affected by the disease. The Kickin' It Challenge gives the kids a way to give back and provides them with a support system.
"The kids are scared," Bickel says. "We did it to say, 'Hey, we are all here for you.'"
High school freshman Courtney Murphy has played in the tournament for the past three years with the Poway Vaqueros. She says she enjoys playing in a tournament for a cause and the tournament has helped her realize the importance of breast cancer awareness.
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