Soccer Community Supports Kamrey Russ

by Brett Gleason

Soccer is built upon the idea of community. Communities celebrate together in good times, and lift each other up in bad.

When Kamrey Russ, the daughter of Washington Premier coach Jeff Russ, was diagnosed with an especially rare liver cancer last year, the community knew what was needed: support.

In the months following her diagnosis, Kamrey and her family have made numerous trips to Rochester, Minnesota for treatment at the Mayo Clinic.

After receiving a liver donation from her mother, Tara, Kamrey is considered to be in remission.

“They removed her entire liver, which is where the cancer was contained,” Tara said. “Luckily it had not spread beyond there. So as of right now, she is considered cancer free.”

Between medical costs (a liver transplant alone runs nearly $600,000) and travel to and from Minnesota, the Russ family has become burdened with a tremendous financial strain.

That’s where our soccer community steps in.

“We absolutely did not expect the amount of support we got,” Tara said. “And that’s not to say we think people aren’t generous, and caring. It’s just that the support was so overwhelming, it was a lot to take in. We never fathomed this amount of help, it’s just been wonderful.”

In the beginning of October, friends of the family hosted a Kamrey Hope Classic golf tournament, raising over $8,000. A Go Fund Me page, a personal crowdfunding platform, started in early August has since received over $31,000 in donations from nearly 400 individuals.

“Not living at home is the most overwhelming part,” Tara said. “Everything else at home goes on as normal, the bills continue as normal. That on top of having to fund another life in Minnesota. It makes you realize how people can lose their homes in these situations, even if they have money in savings. You can lose everything.”

Kamrey has since returned to Tacoma, and continues to attend school at Bellarmine Preparatory School on a modified schedule.

“The student body donated the proceeds of a school dance early in the year to Kamrey,” Tara said. “Bellarmine has been just phenomenal through this whole process.”

During their match against the Ontario Fury this Friday, Feb. 26, the Tacoma Stars will be wearing specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off during the game, with all of the profits going to the Russ family.

“The family is really looking forward to Friday, and we’re hoping to have Kamrey in attendance,” Tara said.

In addition to purchasing jerseys and donating at Friday’s game, fans and members of the community can assist the Russ family by donating at their Go Fund Me page.