The Missouri Comets have set the gold standard in the Major Arena Soccer League so far, starting off their first season in the new league with a perfect record and first-place spot in the standings already established.
Tonight at the Independence Events Center, the 15-0 Comets will Go for the Gold for Pediatric Cancer, as they will wear special gold jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game with all proceeds benefiting the Dalton Everett Burner Foundation, which will help families dealing with pediatric cancer treatment.
Dalton Burner, the Blue Springs elementary school student after whom the foundation is named, joined his Comets hero Brian Harris and his mother, Missy Burner, in the WDAF FOX 4 television studios Thursday morning to talk about the Comets big game against the Chicago Mustangs and the postgame auction and raffle, where fans have the chance to win a replica gold jersey.
“This is a great event, and we are so thankful to the Comets because we know what it’s like to go through pediatric cancer treatment,” said Missy, as Dalton was diagnosed with extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma, a rare cancerous soft-tissue tumor that had grown in Dalton’s left calf muscle.
Dalton was five when he was diagnosed in October of 2010. He underwent surgery and the tumor was removed in May of 2011.
After more rounds of cancer treatment, no new tumors have been discovered and he is winning his fight against the rare disease.
Harris and Burner became close when Dalton – who had lost his hair because of the chemotherapy – saw Harris at a Comets game, where he, too, was bald, because of a rookie-hazing hair cut.
Harris went to Children’s Mercy Hospital, met Dalton and they have been friends ever since. There is a large poster of Burner in the Blue Springs Community Blood Center, where young Dalton talks about Harris and how blood transfusions helped save his life.
“Dalton is my hero,” said Harris, who lost his best friends to cancer when he was 7 years old. “I know what it’s like to lose someone to cancer, and Dalton is an inspiration to me and everyone he meets.
“He and Missy have done a great job with their foundation and anything I can ever do to help I will. We’re all looking forward to the jersey auction tomorrow night at the Events Center.
“If you want a one-of-a-kind Comets jersey, this is it.”
Fans can purchase raffle tickets at the Events Center ($1 each or six for $5) for the chance to win a replica jersey after the game. Longtime Truman High School announcer Jerry Kaylor will serve as the auctioneer for the game-worn jerseys.
Following their appearance on the FOX 4 news program, Dalton, Missy and Brian were joined by MASL leading scorer Leo Gibson and goalie Danny Waltman for a trip to the pediatric cancer care unit at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
“I spent a lot of time there,” Dalton said, “and made a lot of good friends, including Brian. It’s good we can help other kids with cancer.”
For more information on the foundation, go to Facebook and type in: The Dalton Everett Burner Foundation.