The 4th Annual Jack Kicks Cancer 3 on 3 Soccer Tournament kicked off at Seven Gables Park in Wheaton. It was Blake’s family idea to honor a husband and father who passed away from cancer in 1997.
“When the kids all got out of college they all kind of came together and figured out this is what they wanted to do and they always loved the 3 on 3’s,” said his wife, Bev Blake. “It brings people together instead of one giant game.”
His oldest son, Jack III, helped start the not for profit organization Jack Kicks Cancer.
“We wanted to start doing something proactively instead of just remembering my dad and everything he gave to this community and soccer in general,” said Blake.
After the Blake family moved to Wheaton in the late 80’s. Jack got involved with the Park District. Coaching and dedicating his time and knowledge to the young athletes.
The tournament is for soccer players 14 and up and has grown from 10 teams to more than 30. It’s a reflection of Jack Blake’s passion for the sport.
“He just loved getting people involved with soccer. This was his favorite game so this is all of our friends all our family, even people that haven’t played soccer in their life,” said his youngest son Tim. “They come out here for cancer, for the charity. They play soccer and have a great time. I think its a testament of what he stood for bringing people together and soccer to do the sport to do so.”
Proceeds from the event benefit the Lance Armstrong foundation. It’s an organization close to Jack Blake III; he’s a testicular cancer survivor.
“I just wanted to do something to give back to organizations that have the funds and resources to find a cure and talk to the government,” Blake said.
In the first three years of the event they raised over $50,000. Friends and family keep coming back.
“You get to see them again this year, you know all skill levels. I’m on the lower end of the skill levels so that’s fun,” said Naperville resident, Michelle Massa. “Everyone can kick the ball around a little bit but no one’s here to judge so its all for fun and to raise some money.”
Held every Father’s Day weekend, the day has special meaning to the Blake family.
“To us and to all the other families that come out. We’ve got family teams, dads playing with their kids. Its got a good message I think too,” said daughter Meghan Blake.
As for the future of the tournament?
“I would love to eventually get…you can see most of the participants are a little older, but to get younger kid tournament out here as well,” said Blake III. “Either the same morning or a different day. I mean that’s what my dad was about was getting kids out and being active and enjoying the sport.”
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