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Tuesday’s Warren/Zion soccer match takes on added meaning

Warren coach JasAhonen

Warren coach Jason Ahonen

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SCLERODERMA: WHAT IT IS AND DOES

The Scleroderma Foundation is the national organization for people with scleroderma and their families and friends. It was formed January 1, 1998.

Scleroderma is a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Hardening of the skin is one of the most visible manifestations of the disease. The symptoms of scleroderma vary greatly for each person, and the effects of scleroderma can range from very mild to life-threatening. The seriousness will depend on the parts of the body, which are affected, and the extent to which they are affected.

GAME TIME

Tuesday, 7 p.m. at Warren High’s football field on O’Plaine Road. Sophomore game is at 5:30.

Updated: November 6, 2013 3:16AM



On a September night a year ago, 400 people came out to Warren High’s “futball” field on O’Plaine Road to watch the Blue Devils’ boys soccer match against rival Zion-Benton and to help raise funds for the Scleroderma Foundation.

Next Tuesday night at 7 o’clock, if every person who was at last year’s game shows up again for the second annual fundraising game for the Scleroderma Foundation, attendance will be ...

401.

The idea for the fundraiser came from Warren soccer coach Jason Ahonen, who’s seen, up close and personal, exactly what scleroderma can do to a once-healthy individual — in this case, his dad.

He’s also seen his father improve thanks to a lung transplant — courtesy of a lung donor.

Wanting to do something for others who are fighting the disease and, at the same time, show the wonderful things that can happen through organ donation, Coach Ahonen hit upon the idea for the inaugural “Scleroderma and Organ Donor Awareness Game.”

Tuesday will be the second annual game, with Zion-Benton once again providing the competition.

What’s different this year than last? Well, three things:

1) Every time Warren takes to the pitch this fall, it does so as the defending state champion. Last year, the Blue Devils won the championship, becoming the first Lake County school to ever win the big trophy. So, you’ll be watching a team working toward repeating and becoming the SECOND Lake County school to ever win the big trophy.

2) Last year, Coach Ahonen’s dad (Steven) was in Florida, too ill to make the trip to Gurnee to be part of the event. Though he was able to see part of the game via computer technology, it certainly wasn’t the same as being there.

Well, this year, he WILL be there (as fan No. 401!). “My Dad is doing unbelievably well and will be in attendance on Tuesday,” the coach said.

3) Last year, money was raised by an admission fee, by selling 50/50 raffle tickets, and by passing around in the stands a “goal bucket,” which fans filled with coins each time Warren put the ball in the net. And therein might be something to change. This year, Warren (2-0-2 going into Saturday’s game against Stevenson) is defensive-oriented rather than offensive-oriented. So perhaps it should be a “save bucket” this time rather than a “goal bucket.”

Steven Ahonen struggled with scleroderma for a decade and in July of 2012 underwent a bilateral lung transplant. That has fostered the family’s commitment to the Scleroderma Foundation and organ donation.



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