They’re champions on and off the field.
The Manteca High Buffaloes are fresh off of winning their first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls soccer crown. But perhaps their bigger score was helping out 7-year-old Isaac Flores Herrera, who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or ALL.
They raised over $8,000 for the youngster thanks to donations coupled with the annual Kicking for a Cure game against Lathrop High on April 25 – 100 percent of the proceeds from that game went to Isaac, who is on four different types of medications and susceptible to other illnesses.
“It means a lot to us that we can help someone like Isaac,” said MHS co-captain Leah Manuleleau.
Her teammate and fellow co-captain Ashlee Miller applauding the support from the community. “They, too, gave back by buying (Kicking for a Cure) t-shirts and giving generously,” she said.
Donors could also be recognized via “Kicking for a Cure” banner to be displayed at football, basketball and soccer games.
“The Kicking for a Cure game is chance to bring local awareness and hope to the fight against childhood cancer,” said MHS coach Justin Coenenberg, who has been sponsoring this cause for the past six years, in turn, raising over $48,000. “Our coaches, players, faculty, families and friends have all been affected by cancer is some way.”
ALL is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes, which is a type of white blood cell.
Because of that, Isaac Flores Herrera, who had been receiving chemotherapy while getting blood drawn for the better half of last year at Oakland Children’s Hospital, is extremely prone to illnesses and has been homeschooled, his mother Beronica Flores said.
“He’s doing well right now,” she said via her daughter Stephanie Flores, serving as an interpreter.
The family also watched Isaac endure some of the side effects from chemo treatments – vomiting, hair loss, headaches, and extreme weakness.
The donations will help the family defray some of the medical cost.
“We’re thankful to the MHS soccer program,” said Stephanie Flores, who, incidentally, plays soccer for crosstown rival East Union.
Her Lancers gave generously to the cause as did Lathrop High goal keeper Noelle Smith, who took it upon herself to gather up sponsors while raising $500 based on the number of saves.
Coenenberg also recognized Kathy Ruble, Sandy Reeder, Wilma Gonsalez, Maureen Costa, Stephanie Hjelmstad, John Vieira, Waterloo Athletic Club, and Linda Sumrall, to name a few.
Support for “Kicking for a Cure” is still needed.
“I’m happy we were able to support Isaac – we continue to pray for him,” said MHS co-captain Jasmin Basuil.
For more information, call 209.608.0652 or send donations to: MHS Athletic Boosters – Kicking for a Cure, c/o Manteca High School, 450 E. Yosemite Ave., Manteca CA 95336.