Claire Berkeley – 2014 Recipient RAGE Alumni Cancer Scholarship Fund

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ClaireCancer’s affected my entire family.
For me, the start of my freshman year in high school wasn’t typical. I’d supported my mom who was ending an eight-month battle against stage 3 breast cancer. With surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer was officially gone. I had never been happier to move on with my life and not worry about my mother’s health.
However, within a month my parents sat me down and told me my dad’s cancer in his liver had returned a second time and this time it was inoperable. He died 60 days later.
An indescribable feeling overwhelmed me, and I felt like my life stopped. Someone I looked up to was gone. The thought of never again having a conversation, hearing his voice, kicking the soccer ball around with him, high school graduation or the fact that he would never get to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day was horrible to a 14 year old.  I struggled to grasp the concept that I would never get to see him again. I was lost, and school was very challenging for me in my freshman and sophomore years. I needed to be with my family.
I continued playing soccer during this time and soon learned it was an invaluable coping mechanism for me. I’ve had the opportunity to play under some of the best supportive coaches as well as having awesome teammates with strong bonds still to this day. Because of my 14 years with Pleasanton Rage, I’ve been able to attend San Jose State for a higher education while playing soccer. I am grateful for the opportunities Rage has given me and in doing so I’m honored to have the opportunity to “pay forward” to another Rage player who’s been directly affected by cancer.
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