Oct. 26, 2010
As if a game against the crosstown rival Houston Cougars wasn't already important enough, some significant charity work by the Rice Owls soccer team has raised the stakes for attending Friday night's home match even higher.
Rice soccer has teamed with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to host a registration drive at its upcoming match vs. U.H. for potential bone marrow donors in order to benefit the young leukemia patients undergoing treatments at Texas Children's Hospital - a world-renown facility located just a block away from the Owls' home soccer field adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center representatives will set up a registration drive at the Rice-Houston soccer game, an annual clash of crosstown rivals slated for a 7 pm start on Friday (Oct. 29). The Blood Center personnel will collect names of fans who want to volunteer as a potential bone marrow donor and answer questions about a relatively simple procedure that could save lives. The registration drive is only the first step in the donor identification process, with the procedure itself occurring much later. Identifying a proper match for bone marrow donors and their beneficiaries is a key part of the treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, often called A.L.L. or children's leukemia.
Members of the Owls' soccer team have had first-hand experience of associating with the young patients at Texas Children's Hospital. Since 2007 Rice soccer players have made regular visits to T.C.H., interacting with the patients and their families in an attempt to spread good cheer and lift spirits. Friday's registration drive, at what is annually one of the team's biggest games of the year - the crosstown showdown and regular season finale with the rival Cougars - will feature two added fashion statements by the Rice soccer team to help create awareness for all their friends at Texas Children's. First the Owls will wear tee-shirts of various colors in Friday's pregame warm-ups that were individually designed by a different T.C.H. patient. Secondly, the team will wear a gold ribbon in support of children fighting cancer.
Rice interim head coach Nicky Adams said a T.C.H. patient, Morgan LaRue, will get to join the team on the sidelines during the game. Adams had high praise for the team's charitable outreach efforts, all while preparing for its big home finale.
"I am proud of our girls for their community service," Adams said. "They've come up with good-work like this for as long as there has been a Rice soccer program, and they've always done it all on their own. On Friday fans can now see a great soccer game and support the young patients and their families here in the Medical Center."