A look into Kicks for Cancer


Pictured above is the Varsity boys’ soccer team during the annual Kicks for Cancer game. WHS faced Acton-Boxborough High School. “Every time I put the shirt on, it reminds me what’s truly important in life: supporting others, which is true in anything you do, be it in soccer or at home with your family,” Fuller said.

Abby Mitty and Emmie O'Shaughnessy

Each year, the Wayland High School boys’ varsity soccer team partakes in an event that not only brings the Wayland community together but brings multiple parts of the state together.

The annual Kicks for Cancer game (KFC) takes place around late September. Each year at KFC, Wayland faces one of their toughest opponents, Acton-Boxboro. Although this game goes on their record, it’s far more than just a regular season game.

KFC is held for one specific reason — to raise money for cancer. Fundraising takes place before and during the day that KFC games are held. This event started because of the assistant coach of the Concord-Carlisle soccer team, Ray Pavlik. His mother passed away, and the Wayland boys’ soccer team decided that this would be a great way to remember her. After the event, all money raised from raffle tickets, team submissions, entry fees, and other donations are donated to women’s breast cancer research at the Dana-Farber Medical Center.

Last year, the event raised $60,021. In the past 10 years, the event has raised a total of $288,149. With this year being the 11th annual KFC event, the team is hoping to up that number dramatically.

One of the boys’ varsity soccer captains, Zack Dresens, takes a large part in this event.

“KFC is without a doubt the best regular season event in boys’ soccer, except maybe Senior night as a senior,” Dresens said. “The atmosphere is incredible; the loud, pump-up music, all of the fans that attend, both family and from the student body, and sheer anticipation make KFC an event to remember.”

At the game, each of the boys gets a customized shirt that has the name of someone they would like to represent. This can be a name of a friend or family member who is suffering or has suffered from cancer. This allows the Wayland team to have a personal connection to KFC and makes the game so much more meaningful.

“I like to be involved because I feel as if I am showing support for my grandfather who is suffering from cancer,” Dresens said.

Junior Gage Fuller, a 3 year boys’ soccer varsity player, also thinks the KFC game is important.

“Every time I put the shirt on, it reminds me what’s truly important in life: supporting others, which is true in anything you do, be it in soccer or at home with your family,” Fuller said. “That feeling is part of the magic of Kicks for Cancer, and unmatched in any high school event I can think of.”

Fundraising for KFC is a core part of the event for the Wayland team.

“This year, the boys’ soccer team put together a ‘gift basket’ of gift cards, having a value of over $1,000,” Dresens said. “Each player must sell ten raffle tickets, so this was another task that had to be done on our end. All in all, it was a sizeable amount of work…. Team bonding is heightened the day before and day of KFC.”

Varsity Head Coach David Gavron is the reason Wayland got involved in this event. At the first fundraiser for KFC, around eleven years ago, there was only one game between Concord-Carlisle and another school.

“Once they expanded this event, we asked if Wayland could stay as a part of the event, and they have kept us ever since,” Gavron said.

One day, he even hopes his children will be lucky enough to play soccer at a varsity level here at WHS. He would love for them to experience what this event is all about.

“[The event] allows for the boys, as well as their families, to reflect on the real, difficult challenges that cancer can create for families,” Gavron said. “This event is a wonderful way for the boys to remember the person that may have been suffering or that may have passed away due to cancer.”