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Kicking cancer on the pitch

By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot

Logan Brasic never faced a shot as hard as osteosarcoma when he was the goalkeeper of the Jackson Northwest soccer team.

But he’s also never come up with as big a save as he has in fighting the aggressive bone cancer.

From noon Saturday to noon Sunday, the 23-year old Brasic and his mom, Lori, proved that families fight cancer together through love, and in their case soccer, with the third annual Soccer Round the Clock celebration.

More than 400 people signed up to play in 18 games, with a goal of raising $5,000 for metastatic pediatric osteosarcoma research to add to the $14,000 the event raised in 2008 and 2009.

While the highlight of the event was the first celebrity game — with the likes of former Michigan State athletes T.J. Duckett and Goran Suton and Food Network star Adrien Sharp on hand — each game was a proud moment for the Brasic family two years after Logan was told there is no evidence of the disease in his body.

Saturday’s kickoff game was no exception, as Logan watched his 74-year old grandfather play goalkeeper against a group of family members and high school friends.

His grandfather Barry Saltman said he had never played keeper in his life, but someone had to give it a shot. He was beaming after making a late save on someone less than a third his age.

“I kept saying I’ve got to make one stop, and the kid who kicked it was nice enough to not quite kick it hard enough to get through,” he joked.

Each goal scored or save made was also a reminder of the money being raised. Each team paid a $250 registration fee, and there were many generous donations as well.

Ferris State University student Lauren Drayton got to know Logan a few years ago when she met one of his friends while at the school, and she had an envelope full of hope for the Brasics.

“This year I sent out letters to raise money, just from my family and friends, and I was able to get almost $1,000,” she said. “The first time I met Logan, I already knew how extraordinary of a person he was just from what he was going through and how he was upbeat all the time. The more I get to know him the more I realize how awesome he is.”

Brasic was in the familiar position of goalkeeper during the celebrity game Saturday, saying he “made sure T.J. Duckett was on his team so he didn’t have to face a shot from him,” but this event is not the only thing making him smile these days.

A year-and-a-half after having his left leg removed, the 2005 Jackson Northwest graduate is working full-time at LeMatic, while spending a lot of his time running free soccer clinics and finding ways to encourage others.

“The last year has been the kind of coming out of the darkness where I’ve become OK with being an amputee and just kind of become at peace with myself,” he said. “It’s given me a chance to look at my life and kind of move in the direction I want to again and cut my losses, I guess you could say, and move on.”

Lori said she knows she “is damn lucky” to still have her son with her, but she knows the fight is a never-ending one.

“The last three years of my life I’ve walked on eggshells, wondering if he’s going to (have no evidence of disease),” she said. “I wanted to do something for all of the other kids who fought the fight and made it through and knew they could go through it again and again and could end up dying.”


About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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