Richard Stefanacci and his wife, Beth, founded the organization soon after their oldest child, Richard, was diagnosed in 2006 with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Richard died in 2007.
The foundation has helped in a variety of areas, such as aiding families with financial assistance, granting special wishes of children with cancer, and donating money for research. Since 2007, the foundation has given more than $500,000 for innovative pediatric cancer research.
As part of the evening, the Union will take part in the Lace-Up-4 Pediatric Cancer program. Players will wear gold laces as a way to create pediatric cancer awareness.
What makes this event special is that it's a local product through and through. The Stefanaccis are from Merchantville.
The Lace-Up-4 Pediatric Cancer program is involved with many college, high school, and middle school teams in a variety of sports. Adding the Union is a major boost.
"It's been a fantastic partnership, and to have a Major League Soccer team being part of this has been great, especially one in our own backyard," Beth Stefanacci said.
Besides the emotional drain that an illness such as pediatric cancer has on a family, there is a severe financial component that so many families have to overcome.
"Pediatric cancer is the No. 1 killer of children," Stefanacci said. "When you have a sick person with cancer you need one parent to be full-time caretaker, and to lose that income, families should only have to worry about focusing on the sick child instead of paying bills."
Sports teams are so focused on their job, which is winning that next game. Yet Union team manager John Hackworth understands that a cause such as this is important.
"Anytime you can help a cause like that, especially with children, is fantastic," he said.
Since its inception in 2006 the foundation has raised about $2 million.
There are so many ways that the foundation can use help. Besides financial assistance, the foundation is always looking for volunteers.
For more information on the foundation, visit its website at www.go4thegoal.org.
Anybody interested in ordering tickets that the foundation is selling can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.