Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego was supposed to hold its 2nd annual Dream Big Walk in May. Like just about all the other public gatherings it was put off by the coronavirus pandemic.
So, in a time of crisis, Rady and San Diego’s new professional soccer club are getting creative.
“This is their biggest fundraiser every year and all of a sudden that doesn’t happen and they’re just out in the cold,” says San Diego Loyal S.C. manager and United States soccer legend Landon Donovan. “That means parents and children who need them are out in the cold.”
The treatments Rady provides children and the hope it gives their families continue even through the COVID-19 crisis. San Diego Loyal S.C. has only played two matches and just one of those in its home town … but co-founder Warren Smith and his group take the motto “Loyal to the Soil” seriously so they jumped right in to help one of their partners.
“Right now it’s not about playing soccer games it’s about what can we do to make a difference in this community?” says Donovan. “Rady is an incredible partner of ours, an institution in this community, and we all kind of feel helpless during this time but now it’s given us a purpose and something to do.”
What they’re doing is a unique challenge: three teams, captained by Donovan and assistant coaches Carrie Taylor and Nate Miller. All of them, as well as the players on Loyal S.C.’s roster, are reaching out to friends and trying to raise as much money as possible.
The response has been overwhelming. Taylor told the story of receiving a text from a mother who she met through soccer.
“She said I’m joining your team because two years ago my son had an eye injury and Rady helped him actually keep his eyesight,” said Taylor. “We all know people and kids and families that have been impacted and benefitted from the great services.”
Miller agrees, seeing the importance of keeping focused on people who need help aside from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hard lives for normal people haven’t just stopped,” says Miller. “The only thing that’s stopped is our attention on those things because our whole world has put the brakes on talking about one thing. The same life-altering events people have are there and they’re not going away. So, someone like Rady … this is their whole mission. What they do is serve these families and the work has to go on.”
So far the work on this fundraiser has been overwhelmingly successful.
“We started with a goal of $30,000,” says Taylor. “We’ve actually raised that to $45,000 because we’ve already surpassed our goal.”
That $30,000 goal was supposed to be hit by May 2, when the contest ends. Although this is a competition … and these coaches are certainly competitive and trying to win … they realize by working to top one another everyone wins.
“Yes, it’s kind of cheesy sometimes. Yes, we’ve competing. But at the end of the day we’re raising tens of thousands of dollars so that parents and families and children who can’t afford to get medical treatment they need can actually do so,” says Donovan.
Now the most important part of this is, how can we all help? Easy.
You can find a link to the donation page on any of the San Diego Loyal social media platforms (@SanDiegoLoyal on Twitter, @sandiegoloyal on Instagram and @sandiegoloyal Facebook) or simply click on it here:
Pick your team, make a donation, and then if you can get others to help spread the word on their social media platforms as well.