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Soccer team raises $28K for teacher’s cancer fight
pic_amy gross donation.jpg
Amy Gross, front (sitting down), received a sizable donation from the Manteca High girls’ varsity soccer team from the proceeds and donations from the recent Kicking for A Cure game. A teacher at Manteca Unified for 31 years, she was diagnosed with Stage IV non-smoker lung cancer about a year ago. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

Amy Gross had been aware of the Kicking for A Cure game.

The Manteca High teacher never thought she would be on the receiving end of this major fundraising game that brings about awareness and hope to the fight against cancer.

Gross was diagnosed with Stage IV non-smoker lung cancer about a year ago and been undergoing targeted therapy at UC Davis Medical Center coupled with holistic and alternative treatments in Mexico.

She indicated that the latter focuses on the immune system but is not covered by the medical insurance – Gross’ medical at MUSD recently expired at about the same time her husband’s insurance with the district kicked in.

During her absence – Amy Gross taught the freshmen-required Success 101 – Ron Gross, who was previously at Modesto Junior College, has filled in for her in the classroom.  He was hired at the beginning of the school year.

“I’ve been so overwhelmed,” Amy Gross said on Tuesday.

That was after she received a check for $28,518.61 from the MHS girls’ varsity soccer team coached by Justin Coenenberg. The money will help defray costs for her continuing alternative treatments.

“I nearly lost it,” said Gross on getting emotional upon the check presentation that took place at the school’s Winter Sports Awards Night held on the previous day.

Proceeds from the recent Kicking for A Cure game between the Buffaloes and visiting Weston Ranch contributed to the cause along with outside contributions.

According to Coenenberg, a $2,000 donation from family members pushed the running tally of Kicking for A Cure endeavor for the past nine years to $101,292.

“I never thought we would exceed $100,000 when we first started (Kicking for A Cure),” he said.

But this one was special to all involved.

Melissa Poncini, a junior on the girls’ soccer squad, was deeply concerned when she first heard that one of her favorite teachers was diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer.

“It made that much more important to get others involved,” she said.

Raising money to help Amy Gross extended to the community, with those from East Union High and Sierra High – she also taught at those two schools during her 31 years with Manteca Unified – also chipping in.

“I can’t believe the outpouring from everyone in the community,” said Gross, who, according to her doctors, continues to show remarkable health improvements.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail