Up against their rival UNO, the Creighton men’s and women’s soccer teams both took home the victory 2-1 and 3-2 respectively in the Kicks for a Cure exhibition games, but for the Omaha community and players, it was bigger than a game.
On a rainy and windy day in Omaha, Creighton and UNO students, fans and members of the Omaha community came together at Morrison Stadium on the weekend of April 14 for a day of soccer in honor of the 17th annual Kicks for a Cure games.
Alongside the Creighton soccer games, local Omaha high school matches, a gala and silent and live auctions made up the weekend in support of cancer prevention and education, a tradition that has been an integral part of the Omaha community over the years.
The non-profit organization was created by Omaha residents Amy and Steve Lindsay and co-founded by Dave Karnes following the passing of Karnes’ wife, Liz, in 2003. Kicks for a Cure, which was envisioned in 2004, became a reality in April of 2006, growing larger in the Omaha community over the past 17 years.
In 2020, Karnes lost his life to cancer, but the Lindsay’s have continued their work with Kicks for a Cure to raise awareness and educate the public about cancer.
The mission of Kicks for a Cure is to raise money for local cancer research facilities Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center and the Lynch Comprehensive Cancer Research Center at Creighton University.
Melissa Regan, the executive director at Kicks for a Cure for the past two years, said that much of the success from Kicks for a Cure has been thanks to the organization’s commitment to local cancer research and reputation.
“Kicks for a Cure just has a really positive reputation in the community and people want to be a part of it, and so it’s really great to have so many corporations onboard to support the cancer research here in Omaha,” Regan said. “I think that that’s what really keeps people interested, is that fact that the money all stays local.”
Since its creation, Morrison Stadium has been the venue for the soccer exhibitions during the Kicks for a Cure weekend, creating a strong relationship between Creighton and the non-profit.
“We’ve really appreciated the relationship we’ve had with Creighton as well,” Regan said. “It’s been a great place to host the soccer events on Saturday and the coaches and the athletic department have been so accommodating to us, so it’s been really a great partnership.”
Backed by various sponsors, Kicks for a Cure raised a total of $4.1 million in the first 15 years. Just last year, in 2022, the organization was able to amass a total of $420,000 during the weekend.
“This event is great to raise money for … cancer and it’s great that there are so many people who came out to support,” said Jordi Rothwell, a senior exercise science major and Creighton women’s soccer player.
In two intense rivalry matchups of Creighton versus UNO, the teams did not disappoint in creating a fun atmosphere for the community to enjoy. Despite rain, wind and cloudy conditions, freshman exercise science major Lily Fenton said that the weekend was a success due to its ability to bring together the community for a common cause.
“[The attendance] just shows that everyone cares and that everyone supports the cause. Especially with having the team from UNO against Creighton, that really brings the whole of Omaha together,” Fenton said.
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