With a household filled with soccer fans—and players—it was only natural for Christina Stout to use the game to help others.
“No matter what you’re good at, you can find a way to help someone else,” she said.
The Cranberry mom of four followed her advice last year when she founded “Kick It for Kylee,” a nonprofit in honor of a dear friend’s daughter, Kylee, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 2. Unsatisfied with prayers alone, Stout was determined to show her support in another way.
“I really just had to do something to help,” she said.
Drawing on her family’s soccer experience, Stout helped organize the first Kick It for Kylee soccer skills camp in July at Graham Park in Cranberry. With more than 120 participants, 45 volunteers—including Stout’s husband, soccer coach Ryan Stout—and 20 local sponsors, the event raised more than $6,000 for Kylee’s family.
“It was fun to do,” Stout said. “The community really rallied behind Kylee last year.”
Thriving after radiation shrunk her tumor by 75 percent, Kylee, 3, attends pre-school and dance classes with her best friend, Lily— Stout’s 3-year-old daughter.
“She’s living a normal healthy life at this point,” Stout said of Kylee.
This year, Stout —who is the director of Kick It for Kylee—hopes the community will again come together for another family in need.
After the success of last year’s camp, the nonprofit now is dedicated to helping ease the financial burden on parents living north of Pittsburgh who have a child with a life-threatening condition.
This year’s recipients are the Roxbury family of Butler. Mark and Lynsie Roxbury’s daughter, Riley, who—with her twin sister, Kloe—will be 3 on March 31, was born with nonfunctional bowels. She is unable to eat or drink anything because her body does not absorb nutrients or pass waste properly. Instead, she receives intravenous nourishment.
At 3 p.m. March 31 at The Strand Theater in Zelienople, Kick It for Kylee will celebrate Riley and Kloe’s birthday with a special showing of Rise & Shine: The Jay Demerit Story, the true story of a young American’s rise to soccer prominence. There also will be a 50/50 raffle and door prizes at the event. Tickets are $3, and all proceeds will benefit the Roxbury family.
The nonprofit will conduct another soccer skills clinic to benefit Riley's family Aug. 19. Registration and camp details are expected to be available online soon on the Kick It for Kylee website. To reserve tickets for the movie night, email email@example.com or click here.
A cheerful, active toddler, Riley had her first surgery when she was less than 24 hours old.
Originally placed on the organ transplant list for a new liver, pancreas, small and large bowel and a lower portion of stomach, she has improved enough to only need a bowel transplant.
One became available last year, but Lynsie Roxbury said doctors had trouble stabilizing Riley during preparations for surgery and she was taken to intensive care and placed on a ventilator. She has since been diagnosed with a chronic lung disease and a severely compromised immune system.
After battling persistent pneumonia, even a common cold can have an adverse effect on Riley’s health.
“She just doesn’t have any resistance,” Lynsie Roxbury said.
The transplant has been put on hold while the Roxbury family works with specialists to determine what is causing the chronic lung and immune problems.
Despite her many ailments, Riley, who spends most of her time at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, doesn’t let anything get her down. She loves shaking her maracas to the television show Dora the Explorer, watching the Disney movie The Princess and Frog and spending time with her twin.
“Riley just adores Kloe,” Lynsie Roxbury said. “She laughs at everything Kloe does.”
In return, Kloe is protective over her Riley, even imploring doctors not to hurt her “sissy” if she sees Riley isn’t feeling well. Kloe also understands she must play gently with her sister. Riley is equally careful, although her mother says she does her best to keep up with her twin and her cousins.
“I’ve always said Riley is more of an old soul,” Lynsie Roxbury said. “She seems older than what she is. She has a lot of awareness to herself. She knows she can’t keep up with Kloe.”
While Riley will be unable to attend the movie, Lynsie Roxbury promises she, her husband and Kloe will do their best to make to the event.
“If we're not able to make it for whatever reason, then my parents will be there,” she said.
She said she was happy with the support Kick It for Kylee has shown for her family. She also liked the idea of incorporating a soccer camp and movie night into the benefit.
“It’s not just a fundraiser, it’s something for kids to get involved with and a teaching tool for them,” she said. “It’s a really different spin on a fundraiser.”