Kicking Cancer with Cleats

Bill Alfano's picture
Bill Alfano

Kicking Cancer with Cleats

Sarah Couture, 14, is a 2013 PMC Pedal Partner and a cancer survivor who has grown-up living, breathing and playing soccer. When she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in 2012 and began treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, it was no surprise that a black and white soccer ball helped to pull her through her cancer experience. 

Known for dribbling a soccer ball down the hospital’s hallways, Sarah’s fighting spirit and desire to play kept her focused on her recovery and life after cancer. After undergoing one year of treatments, including a bone marrow transplant in which her older sister, Katie, was her donor, she returned to Thornton Academy as an eager freshman ready to get back in the classroom and on the field. Sarah plays outside defense for her high school’s junior varsity team and center-mid for MPS, Maine’s premiere soccer team.  

“Quitters never win and winners never quit.” This is the motto Sarah lived by throughout her treatments. Sarah has been kicking the soccer ball around since she was five years old. Following in her two sisters’ footsteps, she quickly fell in love with the sport and went on to attend summer camps and clinics focused on soccer.  The Couture’s are a true soccer family and credit the love of the game for helping Sarah to recover. 

“When Sarah returned to the field this spring, she was thin and bald as a result of her treatments,” says Judie Couture, Sarah’s mother. “What inspired me the most was her energy and desire to run down that field. No matter what, Sarah’s attitude was she going to get well and go back to school and play soccer. That, she did.”  

The PMC Pedal Partner program, now in its 13th year, matches Jimmy Fund Clinic patients with PMC cyclists who ride the August event in their honor. For the children, being a designated Pedal Partner is an exciting experience, as they become part of a large group of people committed to helping fight cancer. PMC cyclists offer friendship and support to the children and their families while gaining personal inspiration to train and fundraise. Sarah was matched with Carol O'Leary, and Team Seacoast Young, a group of PMC cyclists who met her this spring while she was in the hospital 

“Courage does not always roar, rather, sometimes it’s the quiet voice in your head that says, ‘I’ll try again tomorrow’,” says Couture. “During the chemo process, I couldn’t eat and it was just hard to get out of bed. But, I knew it would get easier each day, and I would try to do more the next day. I was the first patient to use a soccer ball in the Transplant Unit for my physical therapy. My goal was to get back on the soccer pitch as soon as possible.”

This Saturday, New England’s home soccer team will host the inaugural PMC Night with the New England Revolution. The event will take place during the team’s season finale. During the event, PMCers will be recognized at Gillette Stadium for their participation in the 34th annual bike-a-thon, riding and raising money to support adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. PMCers and Revolution fans alike will be entered to win prizes, including soccer gear signed by Revolution players, and will enjoy a special visit by the RevGirls and Slyde the Fox, the Revolution’s mascot. 

To purchase a ticket for the New England Revolution match against Columbus Crew, which starts at 7:30 p.m., or just to find out more info click here and use the password: REVOLUTION13. Tickets are $17 and include a seat in the PMC section and free parking in the PMC tailgate zone.

Cancer survivor and 2013 PMC Pedal Partner Sarah Couture takes a knee in her MPS uniform.




Post courtesy of Teak Media + Communication