WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Des Moines Rugby Club took the field Saturday for their match against Iowa City, but they did so with more than winning on their minds.
“She's pretty exceptional, and the fight that she goes through is nothing like the struggle we put out on the field every week. She's kind of our hero today,” said Coach Corey DeBord.
Saturday was the rugby club's third annual cancer awareness match, and all proceeds will be going to Mackenzy Larson's family. The Altoona teen was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer as a child. In November, she had her leg amputated, in July she had surgery to remove lesions from both lungs.
“Our conversation with the players is the same every week, go out there, perform, do your best, make yourself proud, make your family proud, but today we kinda added make Kenzy proud,” said DeBord.
Right now there isn't any sign of cancer in Larson, and the family wants to try an immunotherapy treatment, but it isn't FDA approved. Insurance won’t cover it, and the family needs to raise $95,000 to start the process.
“With all the support I have I can tell how much I inspire people and that they inspire me just as much, and it's really nice,” said Larson.
Larson says it's crucial that organizations across the country continue to support those with cancer.
“It is important 'cause there's not just me out there, there are so many other kids out there fighting this, so it's good that they have the support system as well,” she said.
Des Moines rugby says they have no plans to stop.
“You know whatever we can do to help people we're trying to find ways to do it instead of kinda thinking that this is a hooligan’s game. We want people to see us as a little bit of a lighter side of that and understand that we're here to help and just be a part of the community more than just this club of rowdies,” said DeBord.
The next fundraiser will be “Kenzy's Carnival in the Park” on Sunday, October 7th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's at Union Labor Park in Des Moines.