STANDISH, Maine – The Saint Joseph's College women's soccer program held four awareness games for various worthy causes at the SJC Athletics Complex this fall.
On Monday, September 18th, Saint Joseph's hosted University of Southern Maine and honored Huskies junior Ally Little (Stoneham, Mass.), who was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia in 2016. Last spring, Saint Joseph's College held a 'Be the Match' donor drive, one of many such events hosted by institutions in the New England region, in an effort to help secure a bone marrow donor. A match wasn't found, but Little is benefitting from an experimental treatment that has allowed her to continue playing soccer.
Before the game versus the Huskies, a brief statement was read over the public address system and the Monks' captains presented Little with flowers.
On Saturday, September 30th, St. Joe's hosted University of Saint Joseph (CT) and, before the game, held a ceremony to recognize three-and-a-half year-old Brooklyn Cormier, who is afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, and her family.
In the summer of 2015, at just over a year old, Brooklyn was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which is the most common physical form of childhood disability and affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex and posture and can lead to tight and rigid muscles known as spasticity. This spasticity can cause stiff legs and arms, pain, and the lack of ability to balance while standing and, in time can cause improper bone growth and result in less motor function, increased pain, and many corrective surgeries as the spasticity wreaks havoc on the body.
Brooklyn's Cerebral Palsy impacts both of her legs. At nearly 3 1/2, she cannot yet walk independently. This past August Brooklyn underwent a life changing spinal cord surgery at St. Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri. This surgery, called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, permanently eliminates the spasticity in patients with Cerebral Palsy. Brooklyn is now recovering from the surgery and goes to physical therapy three days a week to increase her mobility. She also attends strength training sessions two days a week at Project Walk, a paralysis recovery center in Stratham, NH.
On Saturday, October 7th, the Monks hosted Rivier University and dedicated the conference contest to Crohn's Disease awareness. Sophomore Hannah Butler (Melrose, Mass.) has been directly affected by this affliction, as her mom, Sheila, and her sister, Haleigh – who plays soccer at Lasell College – have both been diagnosed with Crohn's.
Sheila has been battling Crohn's Disease since she was first diagnosed at the age of 16 and recently underwent her 10th surgical procedure in an effort to save her life. Haleigh was also diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 2015.
The Butler family is active in the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation (CCFA) by helping raise money for medical research, patient education, and support programs and spread awareness of IBD (inflammatory bowel diseases), since 1.6 million Americans suffer from these lifelong incurable digestive diseases.
Saint Joseph's and Lasell also held a combined Crohn's Awareness game in Newton, Mass. on September 23rd.
On Sunday, October 22nd, Saint Joseph's promoted Cancer Awareness while playing a non-conference game versus UMaine-Fort Kent. Prior to kick-off, a brief ceremony was held to honor Barbara Valenti, who is the mother of senior Angela Valenti (Litchfield, N.H.) and was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29. Barbara, who underwent surgery and six months of chemotherapy, conquered breast cancer and, as a 24-year survivor, is among three million survivors in the United States.
One in eight women – or one individual every two minutes - are diagnosed with breast cancer, which is the second leading cause of death in women. Females are most commonly diagnosed, however; men also get breast cancer.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.