Sounders FC has named June Leahy, CEO and Executive Director of the Austen Everett Foundation, as its 2018 Community MVP and is encouraging fans to continue to vote twice each day for Leahy, who is competing against other MLS club representatives for a $25,000 charitable contribution.
Founded in 2012, the Austen Everett Foundation works to inspire, empower and improve the lives of children faced with cancer by matching and integrating these young people with their favorite professional or collegiate athletic organizations for unique experiences. Leahy took over the Foundation after her daughter, Austen Everett, passed away from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012 at the age of 25. Everett had dreamed of growing her foundation into something nationwide, benefitting children across the country, and Leahy has worked tirelessly to see her daughter’s dream into a reality.
Today, six years after Everett’s death and under Leahy’s guidance, the Austen Everett Foundation has teamed up with over 60 professional teams and universities to provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for over 650 youth to date.
Everett, a Seattle native and talented goalkeeper who played collegiately at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Miami – even playing during her chemotherapy treatments after her diagnosis in 2008 – grew up loving the Sounders and the team has been at the core of helping the foundation to flourish, working with Leahy to develop a robust partnership.
With Leahy’s hard work and dedication, the foundation has expanded from a one-woman operation, with Leahy reaching out to teams one-by-one, to an organization staffed by three full-time employees and over 90 volunteers throughout the country. AEF is now regularly approached by various teams that have heard of the foundation’s work and wish to partner with it to bring special experiences to young fans battling cancer, and Leahy continues to strive toward the dream of one day working with every professional team and Division I university.
Fans can vote for Leahy in MLS’ 2018 Community MVP contest twice each day through Wednesday, August 1. She is competing against representatives from each of the other MLS clubs in what is sure to be a close contest. Should Leahy win, the $25,000 prize for AEF will help provide special experiences for 500 more young cancer patients, inspiring them as they continue their fight.