Sarah Freezer was 11 years old when she learned her younger sister, Hannah, was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia.
Since that day, Freezer has spent countless hours raising money for the Ronald McDonald House in Danville where her sister is a member. And it looks like she will be receiving some much-needed help from the Muncy girls soccer team.
Recently, after spending time with the Muncy girls soccer team as a manager, Freezer has received a boost to her cause as the Indians have rallied around her in an effort to raise money and accept donations on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House.
And besides helping those in need, the Ronald McDonald House in Danville goes a step further to help by sending kids to the Dost Camp, which gives others affected by disease a chance to meet.
"Camp was a life-changing experience for me and my sister," Freezer said. "We all deal with the same things and everybody just fits together. Without the Ronald McDonald House, it wouldn't be possible. It's a huge part of my life and without them I would probably be very depressed. It's like my medication. It keeps me happy and going."
At Wednesday's game against Montgomery, Freezer sat bundled up at a small stand filled with bracelets. She sold the bracelets to earn some extra money for the cause while also accepting donations in the form of household goods and clothes for the house.
"The girls were excited and wanted to help the community," Muncy assistant coach Mallory Hafner said. "The fact they knew somebody they were specifically helping send somewhere was great. They came in on a day off to help make posters."
And the team wasn't satisfied with simply keeping the fundraising to themselves. Hafner, who ran similar programs with the Muncy softball team, contacted local teams and coaches in an effort to get more people involved in the cause.
"We know everybody does cancer games, but we wanted to broaden it and help someone that we know," Hafner said. "We've been posting our collections throughout the schools and community in an effort to get more donations. We just want to get as much as we can to help the Ronald McDonald House."
"Muncy contacted us and we were really excited about participating," Montgomery coach Samantha Mix said. "The Ronald McDonald House is a great charity and we definitely wanted to help out."
The Red Raiders certainly did their share. The team exited their bus with bags stuffed full of all different types of household supplies. The girls even went out and grabbed pink accessories for their uniforms.
"Muncy and Montgomery are great rivals and it's great to combine for such a great cause," Mix said. "The girls are really into it. It's awesome and the girls are already talking about doing it next year."
With the traditions of these rivalries dating back to a time when most of us weren't even born, the foundation for a lengthy continuation of such good acts has a good chance of staying around just as long.
"This isn't just about putting a goal in the back of the net, it's about what you can do to help others in your community," Hafner said. "This is one of those lifelong goals we want to instill in the players."
PRETTY IN PINK
And the good thing about the soccer community is this story isn't unique. Plenty of teams have used their access to the community for a good cause.
Williamsport, which played a Pink Out game against Milton Monday, carried on a tradition of raising Breast Cancer Awareness that started with head coach J. Scott McNeill in his days with South Williamsport.
"The parents and the girls were really excited to help," McNeill said. "The parents really got into it. They brought baked goods and shirts to sell."
WHAT'S WITH THE
I don't want to write this, but something needs to be said. I'm not sure who came up with the idea to schedule a Loyalsock at Montoursville girls match on a Friday night, but thanks for making everyone choose.
Look, I love soccer. I love covering it and I love being part of the soccer community. But, as much as I love soccer, it's not going to beat out football in this area. So why is it that two district title contenders are playing at the same time Montoursville football takes on Danville and Loyalsock battles local rival Hughesville? It's a bad decision, especially since the host team's football program is playing in Danville.
Crossley covers soccer for the Sun-Gazette and he may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org