As DJ Pogson was coaching his AYSA Synergy (now Rainier Valley Slammers) U13 team in 2010, he was presented with a story that would forever change his view on the word "cancer." A young woman on his team had lost her mother to Breast Cancer a few short years prior. The hurt in her heart was still strong as she described the loss to her coach.
DJ went home and researched breast cancer, and realized the epidemic women in the world and in his life were facing. As a teacher, and a coach of two girls’ soccer teams, DJ made the decision to devote himself to this cause. His goal was not only to raise funds for Breast Cancer research, but also to educate those he coaches and teaches about the disease and the profound effect it has on women and families everywhere. So, in October of 2010, DJ and his Synergy ’97 Orange team held a "friendly" soccer game at a local high school as a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen. The event named, "Playing Ball to Cure Them All", raised nearly $2,500.
Unfortunately, 2011 brought another devastating breast cancer diagnosis for the mother of a young woman DJ coached. With this news, DJ sparked aspiration among his young ladies of the Rainier Valley Slammers G00 team. With much excitement and hope, Playing Ball to Cure Them All made an audacious return on October 28, 2011, including Fury FC as game and fundraising competitors. This group of incredible young women worked hard to earn over $4,000 to fight against Breast Cancer!
DJ’s continued passion for education and a cure called for the return of Playing Ball to Cure Them All in 2012. That year, the event included 2 additional Rainier Valley Slammers teams plus 3 competing teams who joined in to fight for the women in their lives. As a result of the event growing, Playing Ball to Cure Them All was held at the Starfire Sports complex stadium and raised nearly $8,000 to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation!
In 2013, DJ, along with a dedicated team of volunteers and players, coordinated another successful and meaningful event. The 4th annual Playing Ball to Cure Them All was held on October 25, 2013, at the Starfire stadium. A total of 8 Rainier Valley Slammers teams and 1 Maple Valley Marauders team raised funds through the sale of pink wrist bands, head bands, t-shirts and game tickets. Game night was an exciting evening filled with competitive soccer, a bake sale, and a raffle. Each team was introduced by an MC who announced the players, along with who they were playing “In Honor of” or “In Memory of.” The evening’s proceeds neared the $8,000 mark on behalf of the National Breast Cancer Foundation!