Utica women’s soccer sends local child with cancer to Disney World

UTICA — The Utica University women’s soccer team has raised $6,000 to send their Team IMPACT teammate Arianna LaBella and her family to Disney World.

The 12-year-old from nearby Ilion was connected with the Pioneers through Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with life-threatening illnesses. LaBella has been a member of the Utica women’s soccer team since March 2020, but was introduced as a team member at a press conference this fall.

In July 2019, she was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma bone cancer. After nearly a year of chemotherapy and radiation, she was cancer-free on June 6, 2020. But on February 4, 2021, she relapsed and the cancer continued to spread. †

“They are now in the phase of prolonging her life, making memories and praying for a miracle,” the university noted.

In less than a week, the Pioneers raised $6,000 by selling bracelets and collecting donations that will cover the entire cost of sending LaBella and her family on a trip to Disney World. The team handed over a check to the LaBella family Monday night at a pizza party they held for their teammate.

For more information or to donate to charity, contact Brooke Barbuto, head women’s soccer coach at bcbarbut@utica.edu.

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