KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Avila University football player is breaking records on and off the field by combining football and fundraising.
This season, Landen Nealy scored more points in a game than any other kicker in school history. And he’s the only kicker to raise money for childhood cancer four years in a row.
Nealy teamed up with the “Kick It” campaign his senior year of high school after his friend and teammate died of leukemia. Kick It sets up a platform where Nealy collects pledges and donations for each field goal he makes. The money goes toward pediatric cancer research.
“I don't even know half the people who donate to me. It's good to see there are still good people out there,” Nealy said.
In three years, during high school and college, he’s raised more than $55,000. He hopes to reach the $100,000 mark by the end of his collegiate career in the 2019 season.
Kick It teamed up with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The nationwide organization distributes money to families of pediatric patients to pay for travel expenses related to treatment.
It also gives money to researchers. In Kansas City, it’s passed out roughly $850,000 to Children’s Mercy Hospital, Stowers Institute for Medical Research and The University of Kansas Health System. One hour of research costs roughly $50. Each donation gets scientists one step closer to eliminating childhood cancers.
“That's the goal, to close the doors. We're really pushing for trials and for medicines that are less toxic for children,” said Susan Blowey, the community outreach specialist with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
The foundations said Nealy sets a perfect example.
“Someone like Landen I think shows other kids it doesn't matter how old you are, you can make a difference. He's using his God-given talent as a great kicker to make a difference” Blowey said.
Landen said he hopes other kickers start their own campaigns.
If you’d like to pledge or donate to Nealy’s cause, click here.