Gold was the theme of the night at a recent Newbury Park High School girls’ soccer game—but it had nothing to do with trophies or medals.The team faced off against league rival Agoura on Friday while wearing gold ribbons and headbands to show their support for putting an end to childhood cancer.
GETTING THEIR KICKS—Brooke gets some kicks in with soccer player Glory Smith before Friday’s game at NPHS. The team dedicated the game to childhood cancer awareness. Brooke was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 4 years old.Their inspiration? Six-year-old Brooke Richardson, a first-grader at Earths Magnet School in Newbury Park, who ran around the field in sparkly gold shoes sporting a Panther jersey under a pink coat.
The Newbury Park resident joined the team on the field as the game’s official MVP, taking part in the coin toss and delivering high-fives to all the players.Brookie, as she’s known, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4. She’s been in and out of doctors’ offices ever since, said her mother, Tami Richardson.An avid soccer fan, Tami signed Brooke up for AYSO two years ago. Midway into her first season, the child began to experience pain in her legs and hip, prompting a visit to Kaiser Permanente L.A. Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with leukemia.“We had to pull her out of soccer and out of school,” Tami said.
Two and a half years and several chemotherapy treatments later, Brooke has resumed classes and is again playing the sport she loves, albeit not to the extent she’d like. Her mother said it’s difficult to define Brooke’s status, but she’s technically in remission.