Tyler Trahan, senior at LaSalle (from left to right) and captain of the varsity soccer team; Grace Bartow, junior at Academy of the Holy Names and center back for AHN varsity soccer; and Anthony Rotello, senior at LaSalle and co-captain of varsity soccer. All three students were instrumental in bringing their two schools together for their “Kick Out Cancer” event as part of their ongoing fundraiser for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign. (Emily Benson photo)
Tyler Trahan, senior at LaSalle (from left to right) and captain of the varsity soccer team; Grace Bartow, junior at Academy of the Holy Names and center back for AHN varsity soccer; and Anthony Rotello, senior at LaSalle and co-captain of varsity soccer. All three students were instrumental in bringing their two schools together for their “Kick Out Cancer” event as part of their ongoing fundraiser for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign. (Emily Benson photo)

Neither rain nor wind nor cold temperatures could stop the dynamic duo of La Salle Institute and Academy of the Holy Names.

The two Catholic schools have teamed up their soccer programs for a month-long fundraiser for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign, pledging to raise $10,000 by the end of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The fundraiser was spearheaded by Grace Bartow, a junior from Holy Names, and Tyler Trahan, a senior from La Salle. The two long-time friends, who grew up playing soccer together, are now combining their schools’ soccer programs to raise awareness for a good cause.  

On Thursday, Oct. 4, the two programs hosted their “Kick Out Cancer” event at La Salle’s home game against Colonial Council rival Ichabod Crane. Despite the rainy weather, the La Salle Cadets took to the field wearing pink jerseys to raise awareness for breast cancer, while Holy Name’s and La Salle’s jayvee players attended in support: “It seems to be pouring but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anybody,” said Bartow.

The two teams collected donations at the gate, sold raffle tickets and handed out awareness information. Preparations for the day started back in July, said Trahan, but the effort wasn’t for not.

“The absolute biggest thing that I’ve seen is the excitement around attending this game,” he said. “It’s all over social media, it’s all over Holy Names’ social media, La Salle (social media), Making Strides posted it on their personal account. It seems like there’s this big hype around it.” 
The game was played in memory of a La Salle senior’s mother who died from breast cancer this summer.  

“We’ve had a lot of students who’ve gone through it before,” Bartow said. “Who we’ve been so close with, that have lost mothers, aunts, siblings, everyone you can think of to breast cancer. So it’s really important to us to not only give back to those students but to their families.”

While not the first time La Salle has held this campaign, it is the first year the school joined forces with Academy of the Holy Names: “Six years ago my brother was a junior at La Salle and he started the Cadets vs. Cancer idea,” Bartow said. Ever since, she’d been helping the Cadets with the annual campaign. 

After she started school at Holy Names, she brought the campaign there. It was Bartow’s idea to bring the two programs together, and with some help from Trahan, got the campaign rolling. Already the two have gathered donations from local businesses, raffle tickets sold at La Salle and Holy Names games and t-shirts sales. 

“The first thing that we did was we reached out to a lot of local businesses and asked them to sponsor us in return for ads on the back of t-shirts,” said Trahan. “Which goes into the second fundraising thing, which is we actually sell these La Salle and Holy Names breast cancer themed t-shirts. 

“The (La Salle) administration actually supported us and offered that every kid that purchases a t-shirt can dress down every Friday in the month of October. All of the money goes to the Making Strides foundation.”

The schools have already raised $5,000 and both Bartow and Trahan are confident that they’ll exceed their goal.   

“Any sort of age can make a difference, and I think that’s what you’re going to see from the Cadet and Holy Names community tonight,” Bartow said. “No matter what age you are, no matter where you’re from, you get the support of your community and I think with that you can accomplish anything.”