Sacramento Republic FC takes on childhood cancer

Partnership with UC Davis Health raises awareness and funding for pediatric cancer care


Sacramento Republic FC may not have triumphed against LA Galaxy II on Sept. 26, but the team is still a winner in the eyes of children with cancer and their families. UC Davis Health is sponsoring Sacramento Republic FC for an 8th season in a row and last week’s matchup marked the culmination of Childhood Cancer Month.

Sacramento Republic FC and UC Davis Health worked together during the month of September to raise awareness about pediatric cancer. After accidents, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14.

Children with cancer find the care they need at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and a video, shown at the game, spotlighted one such success story. Riley Blum, 13, from Wilton, was diagnosed last year with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as ALL. This year, he’s back out on the soccer field practicing with his team.

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Riley’s UC Davis primary care nurse Tina Schmidt said she bonded with him quickly after noticing he was wearing a San Juan Soccer Club jersey, which is the same soccer club her son was in. That led to a realization that they both shared a love of Sacramento Republic FC.

“Tina is the greatest primary care nurse anyone could ask for,” said Riley during the interview for the video.

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center's pediatric oncology program provides diagnosis and management of all forms of pediatric cancer and pediatric blood disorders. Patients have access to an extensive range of clinical trials of new therapies and management of long-term treatment effects.

“We take care of children with cancer the same way we would like our families to be taken care of,” said Marcio Malogolowkin, chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology.

Riley’s parents, Molly and Jason Blum, are also featured in the video. They talk about all the different areas of UC Davis Health where Riley has received care—starting with his pediatrician at the primary clinic in Folsom, then the emergency department, the PICU and the cancer center.

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“It feels like you have a team of brainiacs, looking at your situation and figuring out the best solution,” Molly Blum said.

Riley’s story is one of several that Sacramento Republic FC is highlighting on its website as a way of helping fans to connect and learn more about the impact of childhood cancers. Other stories include a video on UC Davis facility dogs and their unique role helping young pediatric patients cope with cancer.  There’s even a video showing UC Davis facility dog Huggie visiting on the field, hugging Sacramento Republic FC players and staff and giving sloppy kisses!

Sacramento Republic FC encourages fans to donate to the childhood cancer fight. This year, contributions are supporting the life-changing work at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center through the new Super Fritz & Friends Fund. The fund will create a new pediatric resource specialist position at the cancer center to partner with social workers in addressing the issues families face, including the psychosocial needs of young patients and their families.

Related stories

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Q&A with Dr. Marcio Malogolowkin

The Breakaway: A Republic FC Podcast with UC Davis Health Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist Dr. Marcio Malogolowkin

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 100,000 adults and children every year and access to more than 200 active clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 240 scientists at UC Davis who work collaboratively to advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Patients have access to leading-edge care, including immunotherapy and other targeted treatments. Its Office of Community Outreach and Engagement addresses disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations, and the cancer center provides comprehensive education and workforce development programs for the next generation of clinicians and scientists. For more information, visit

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