TUKWILA, Wash. – When the Seattle Sounders play their Oct. 21 match against FC Dallas using a pink ball in commemoration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it will have particularly special significance to midfielder Servando Carrasco.
Carrasco’s mother, Gloria, is a breast cancer survivor, and was given her five-year clean bill of health last November.
The Seattle midfielder and his mother have also actively helped raise awareness, participating in June’s Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure.” They worked to raise $6,300 as part of the Por La Mujer Hispana team, whose 82 members made them the biggest non-profit team. For those efforts – as well as the work he did with the Puget Sound Blood Center – Carrasco has been named MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month for October.
“It was something that we’re very passionate about,” Carrasco told MLSsoccer.com. “That was a stage in our lives that was very difficult. It’s a way to share our story and the main goal is to prevent that from happening to other families. If we can do that by sharing our story and experiences, then great.”
“The reality is that tomorrow it’s going to be someone else’s mom, someone else’s sister, daughter,” Carrasco continued. “That’s just the reality. The reason I wanted to get involved with Susan G. Komen was their main emphasis on self-awareness, to encourage women to go out their annual screening tests, to really prevent it from happening in a way that if you detect it early that can be the difference between life and death.”
In 2006, Carrasco’s mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer, which has a five-year survival rate of anywhere from 41 to 67 percent. The good news for them was that it was detected in time that she still had an assortment of options, including radiation and chemotherapy.
“We had no idea what that meant at the time,” Carrasco said. “It was one of those things where you try to find out as much as possible. We learned a lot in that process and by sharing our story we can help other people out.”
When Gloria received her diagnosis, Carrasco was training in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in preparation for a trial with Mexican club Necaxa and immediately returned home. Although he eventually played collegiately at Cal, he took every opportunity to visit her and she never missed one of his games.
Helping promote the event and walking with the 82-member group was just the latest way they’ve managed to stay close.
“The actual day was very emotional, but it was a beautiful event,” Carrasco said. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate those who have won the battle and, at the same time, honor those who have lost the battle to raise awareness, continue to push forward and find a cure because that’s the ultimate goal.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.