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Fall athletes urged to ‘Lace Up’ for pediatric cancer awareness

07-29-2016 (Akron, Ohio )

Youth athletes across Northeast Ohio are already training for their fall seasons and Akron Children’s Hospital is ready to launch its third annual “Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer”® campaign in conjunction with the Go4TheGoal Foundation.®

“September is ‘Childhood Cancer Awareness Month’ and it’s a great time for athletes to get involved with an easy fundraiser to show their support for children in the community who are battling cancer,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hord, director of the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Akron Children’s.

Getting involved is as simple as ordering gold laces for your shoes and designating a game to childhood cancer awareness. Each pair of laces is $5, with $4 benefitting the Showers Center.

“We’ve had great support the past few years from soccer, football and volleyball players, cheerleaders, cross country runners and even Irish step dancers from the youth level all the way to collegiate athletes and beyond,” said Dr. Hord.

This year’s athlete advocate is Jackie Deininger, who was just 12 days away from beginning her freshman year at Walsh Jesuit High School in 2015 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Jackie was wrapping up her travel basketball season and beginning try-outs for the Walsh freshman volleyball team when she developed symptoms of what seemed to be a cold that wouldn’t shake.

Friends, family, teammates and the administration and teachers at Walsh rallied around Jackie as she was admitted to the hospital and began chemotherapy.

Nearly a year later, Jackie is in remission. She continues to regain her strength and plans to try out for the volleyball team again. Come September, she hopes not only to contribute to a winning season but plans to give back to the Showers Center.

“No one ever expects a cancer diagnosis to hit so close to home,” said Ken Deininger, Jackie’s father. “There are a lot of ups and downs and it was so important for Jackie – all of us – to have the support we received. We realized pretty quickly how fortunate we were to have the amazing medical expertise and emotional support of the doctors and nurses in the Showers Center on our side. This is just one way for us to give back.”

Getting involved is as easy as ordering your team’s gold laces through Go4TheGoal. Just email Nick Kelleher at

  • Designate a game to raising awareness for childhood cancer. Consider donating a portion of ticket or concession sales to the cause.
  • Challenge other athletes at your school, as well as your team’s rivals to getting involved.
  • Post photos of your team wearing their gold laces and spread the word via social media. Use the hashtags #G4Gakronchildrens and #Go4theGoal.

To read more about Jackie Deininger’s story, go to: