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NWSL players raise more than $45,000 for breast cancer nonprofit Libby’s Legacy

The fundraiser was created to show support throughout the league for Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in July.

Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley, center, heads to the field in a warm-up breast cancer awareness jersey ahead of the team's match with Reign FC to close the 2019 season at Exploria Stadium. (ISI Photos)

A league-wide initiative led by the Orlando Pride and the Chicago Red Stars raised $45,146 to benefit Libby’s Legacy, an Orlando-based nonprofit that provides assistance to breast cancer patients.

The effort began in September following the breast cancer diagnosis of Pride defender and longtime NWSL player Toni Pressley. The defender was diagnosed with breast cancer in July and underwent a double mastectomy a month later. She returned to the pitch for the team’s final match of the season, three months after receiving her initial diagnosis.

Pressley story was met with a wave of support from fans, players and coaches throughout the league that inspired the fundraising effort. The Red Stars and the Pride launched an online auction in September, which offered items such as signed cleats and jerseys from every team in the NWSL.

The Pride also created limited edition pink merchandise and hosted its first Breast Cancer Awareness match in October, donating portions of sales to Libby’s Legacy.

All of the money raised will directly benefit the nonprofit, which helps breast cancer patients by providing financial assistance and health services. Pressley said that she selected Libby’s Legacy because she felt it made a tangible impact in the struggles that patients face on a day-to-day basis.

Watching the success of the auction in October, Pressley said she was overwhelmed by the generosity throughout the league in supporting both her journey and the cause.

“We obviously have great players in this league, but we also have great human beings,” Pressley told ProSoccerUSA. “It just makes me proud to be part of this league and call these people my friends and my peers and my colleagues. I’m forever in their debt.”

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