Women’s soccer plays for a cause

Zijo Zulic

No. 9 Alyssa Arnold fights for the ball against UW-Stout. The Titans lost to the Blue Devils 1-2 on Saturday, Oct. 15.
[/media-credit] No. 9 Alyssa Arnold fights for the ball against UW-Stout. The Titans lost to the Blue Devils 1-2 on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Chloe (left) and Kendall (right) play with women’s soccer head coach Erin Coppernoll.
[/media-credit] Chloe (left) and Kendall (right) play with women’s soccer head coach Erin Coppernoll.

Although the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh was defeated 1-2 in overtime by the University of Wisconsin-Stout on Saturday, the game proved to be much more than a soccer match.
Since 2012, teams in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference have been required to play for a cause. In recent years, the UWO women’s soccer team has played for autism awareness, suicide awareness and various cancer-related causes.
This year, the women’s soccer team decided to get in contact with former Oshkosh soccer player Christine (Barutha) Roehling to share the story about her twin daughters.
Roehling was a goalkeeper for the Titans during her time at UWO.
“Christine played for me for two years in 2004 and 2005,” head coach Erin Coppernoll said. “She is a great person and has stayed in touch by keeping me up to date with her life.”
Christine is now married to Dan Roehling, and is a mother to three children, Max, 3, and twins Chloe and Kendall, 18 months.
About 12 months ago, Chloe and Kendall were diagnosed with Restrictive Cardiomyopathy.
Restrictive Cardiomyopathy is a rare form of heart muscle disease characterized by restrictive filling of ventricles in the heart.
Christine said they found out about the condition after Chloe had a stroke.
Doctors wanted to find out how a blood clot made its way to the left side of Chloe’s brain, so they ran tests. The tests came back and showed Chloe had Restrictive Cardiomyopathy.
The only solution for a patient who is diagnosed with Restrictive Cardiomyopathy is to receive a heart transplant.
Chloe underwent heart transplant surgery on May 11, 2016. While this was occurring, Christine and Dan decided to get twin-sister Kendall tested.
The test result came back that Kendall also had Restrictive Cardiomyopathy.
The search for a new heart was underway, and on June 30, 2016 a donor heart had been located for Kendall. The family and the team of doctors began preparing for heart transplant surgery.
According to their story on their foundation’s website, Chloe was eventually discharged from the hospital on July 2, 2016. She spent 126 days in the hospital. Her twin-sister Kendall was discharged on July 16, 2016 after spending nearly two weeks in the hospital.
On Saturday, the women’s soccer team played their hearts out for both Chloe and Kendall.
“For warm ups we wore green dry-fit shirts because green is the color for childhood organ donation,” senior Rachel Elliott said. “At half time we watched the video made by the athletic department about our cause, and welcomed the family to our field with gifts, balloons and t-shirts.”
The UWO women’s soccer team was playing for organ donation, and the story behind Chloe and Kendall is the main reason why.
“The passion and energy that the team has shown towards my family, especially our daughters, has been humbling,” Christine said.
The UWO women’s soccer roster includes a pair of twins, seniors Rachel and Robyn Elliott. Rachel said it is vital to host an event like this.
“It is important to host an event like this to make people aware,” Rachel said. “People need to be advised of our cause so we can get more people to help families like the Roehlings.”
Robyn said using the platform they have as athletes is important because it goes beyond the sport they play.
“As a sports team, I don’t think we realize how much of an impact that we can have on our community until we do things like this,” Robyn said. “We can give so much back to this cause because we have influence on campus because we are athletes.”
The Roehling family said they felt they needed to pay it forward, so they created “The Beat Goes On Foundation.”
“‘The Beat Goes On Foundation’ raises awareness for pediatric organ donation,” Coppernoll said. “[The foundation] also raises money for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, especially the Herma Heart Center.”
Aside from “The Beat Goes On Foundation,” the Oshkosh women’s soccer team is raising more awareness for organ donation by getting involved on campus.
“The women’s soccer players will be talking with people this week in Sage [Hall] and Reeve [Union] and asking people to sign up to be an organ donor,” coach Coppernoll said. “If people sign up, they can enter in a raffle to win an iPad Mini.”
The women’s soccer team will be raising money in the form of an online auction as well. The online basket auction can be found at http://uwoplayforacause2016.eflea.ca. The auction will end on Sunday, Oct. 23. All proceeds will go to “The Beat Goes On Foundation.”
“To know that you are a part of the team even after you graduate is what playing sports is all about,” Christine said. “The team has done a great job of bringing awareness on the need for organ donation and how students can help.”