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

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UTICA — The Utica University women’s soccer team 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 group that works to improve the quality of life for children facing 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.

She was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma bone cancer in July 2019. After almost a year of chemotherapy and radiation, she was cancer-free on June 6, 2020. But on Feb. 4, 2021, she relapsed, and the cancer has continued to spread.

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

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

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

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