GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — Cancer has touched the lives of many families in one way or another, and there’s one organization in Germantown called The Cancer Kicker Soccer Club that’s helping to bring a smile to the faces of children who have or had cancer.
Five-year-old Caleb Grimsley has quite the personality and in his short life, he’s been through a lot. One morning as his parents were getting him ready for school he had a seizure.
“We found out that he had a brain tumor and he went into brain surgery the next morning,” said mom Christina Grimsley.
Within four days, the Grimsley’s moved from Florida to Memphis to seek treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“He was given a 10 percent chance of survival. We were told, don’t look this up, we would not find a good story,” said dad James Grimsley.
While at St. Jude, Caleb became a member of The Cancer Kickers Soccer Club, a Germantown-based nonproft that has 2,100 members in 43 states and 21 countries.
After a child is nominated, the soccer club sends them a player pack filled with clothes, shoes, a soccer ball and a customized jersey.
“Then they have a letter in here from Coach Chris that tells exactly what they’re supposed to do with this when they receive it,” said Michelle Clothier. “How you’re supposed to put your jersey on, and wear it to your treatments and wear it to your appointments.”
Another member named Olivia is going through treatments for leukemia.
“She loved it. She was very excited. She put it on right away,” said her mother Kacie Mellen.
She said Cancer Kickers helped her daughter through chemo.
“They’re doing a lot of great things and I think are really truly invested in making sure these kids feel special,” she said.
“It tells them as they’re going to see the doctor, they’re going for treatment or even on a day when they don’t feel good, put their uniform on, put their sweatshirt on and get cozy, close your eyes and think about playing a soccer game with your teammates from around the world,” said Chris Clothier with the organization.
The soccer club also invests in the kids and their family’s well being. They have a deal with Memphis 901 FC where club members from all over can come to Memphis to watch a game.
The efforts have certainly made a difference.
“St. Jude might’ve saved his life but organizations like Chris and Michelle and Cancer Kickers gave him life back,” said James Grimsley.