Family helping take kick at cancer

Langley United Soccer Association hosting 24-hour game at Willoughby Community Park in support of BC Cancer Foundation

Five-year-old Nevan Coburn is a cancer survivor. He will take the pitch on Saturday as part of the Langley United Kicks Cancer 24-hour soccer match at Willoughy Community Park.

Debbie and Derek Coburn know the impact cancer can have.

In 2011, doctors discovered a lump the size of a grapefruit on their then 20-month-old son Nevan.

Within a day, Nevan was at B.C. Children’s Hospital, undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer, germ cell teratoma.

Nevan underwent four chemotherapy sessions in six months and then after surgery, one more round. And after two years of intense follow-up appointments, he now does blood work once a month.

“He is not considered in remission anymore, he is a survivor,” Debbie said.

Nevan, who is now five, is a physically active kid, always on the go.

“He just doesn’t stop,” Derek said.

Nevan is in swimming and hockey, and this is also his first year with the Langley United Soccer Association.

And when they heard the association was planning a 24-hour soccer game — Langley United Kicks Cancer — they were quickly on board.

The game begins at noon on Saturday (June 21) and goes round-the-clock until noon on Sunday at Willoughby Community Park.

There are more than 200 participants registered to play, and they are split into 30 teams, who will take turns playing. There is even one family of six who will play as a single team.

The U5 to U13 age groups will play an hour apiece and then from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. it will be the U14 and older age groups — including adults — taking the field. U13 and younger players will return from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then the final two hours will be for all ages.

The association had set a fundraising goal of $10,000, but as of Wednesday morning, their fundraising page was at $15,427.

The money is going to the BC Cancer Foundation in support of the fight against pediatric cancers.

The Coburns felt this was a great way to get involved and help others out, much like they were, when their son was sick.

“It is not a place you really want to be, but there is comfort in knowing how good people are at their jobs and the miracles they can do,” Derek said, adding that everyone at B.C. Children’s Hospital was fantastic.

“The people that are there, not only are they healing, but they are supporting families, which is so important.”

He singled out three people — Dr. Sheila Pritchard, the primary doctor, Suzanne Horne, the main nurse, and Dr. Geoffrey Blair, the surgeon, specifically.

He also gave credit to Dan Mornar, of the British Columbia Childhood Cancer Parents Association, which raises funds to help parents whose children are fighting cancer.

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