By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio –On Wednesday evening, Capital University Women's Soccer will partner with the SamerStrong Memorial Foundation to raise money for the organization by accepting donations at the door for the team's conference matchup against Wilmington College as each member of the Crusaders plays for a loved one affected by cancer.
Founded by sophomore Capital midfielder Sydney Dion in memory of her late boyfriend Samer Babi, the SamerStrong Memorial Foundation is a nonprofit that awards scholarships to eligible high school students in North Olmsted, Ohio and provides aid to families affected by childhood cancer. This is the first year the scholarship will be awarded.
Samer Babi was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1999 and his family moved to the United States when Samer was two. The family settled in North Olmsted where Samer lived the majority of his life and was an active member of the community. In high school, Samer was a four-year member of the North Olmsted football team, was a wrestler for two years and participated in track for one season. Samer was diagnosed with stage four alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma in 2017 as he was finishing his junior year of high school. While fighting his illness, Samer participated in all of his senior year activities and was named the 2018 North Olmsted Homecoming king. He also volunteered for various other charities and was received the Cleveland Clinic Courage Award at the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission on January 2018. Samer passed away on June 17, 2018 after a 13-month battle with cancer at the age of 18.
In addition to accepting donations, the Crusaders will each be playing for someone in their lives who has been affected by cancer. Each Capital player will wear a shirt with the name of the person they are playing for in pregame warmups and will be introduced with the name of the person of their choosing. Wednesday's game will be the final home game of the regular season for the 11-4 (5-2 Ohio Athletic Conference) Crusaders. Kickoff between Capital and Wilmington (8-7, 2-5 OAC) is scheduled for 7 p.m.