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Soccer for Strahm: Alumni Scrimmage to benefit WF boy recovering from cancer

Nearly 3-year-old Brody Strahm (right) scores a goal this summer past his coach, Jake Kroke, a varsity soccer player at West Fargo High School. The upcoming Sixth Annual Alumni Soccer Scrimmage will benefit Strahm, who is recovering from Stage 4 Hepatoblastoma, or liver cancer that metastasized to the lung.

Lately, nearly three-year-old Brody Strahm has enjoyed just being able to play outside.

That is because at this time last year, the West Fargo boy was fighting for his life.

"He was in and out of the emergency room with stomach pain," Brody's mother, Kelsey, said. "We eventually took him down to Children's Hospital in Saint Paul."

That's where a CT scan showed a large mass on Brody's liver. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hepatoblastoma - liver cancer that has metastasized to the lung - and immediately had surgery to remove a melon-sized tumor from his liver and a pencil-eraser-sized tumor from his lung.

Brody began chemotherapy a week later.

The chemo meant frequent trips for the Strahms from their home in Lisbon, N.D., to MeritCare Hospital (now Sanford) in Fargo. At the time, Brody's baby sister, Ryley, was just two weeks old. To curb the time and juggling of schedules, Kelsey and her husband, Marc, decided to move to West Fargo.

But all the moving and work was worth it, Kelsey said. Brody finished his 12th and final round of chemo at the end of May.

"He had all of his CAT Scans and all that stuff," she said. "They've come back clear."

That's a good sign for a "really active" young boy who can't seem to get enough sports

"It's just kind of funny because he was bedridden for at least nine months," Kelsey said. "As soon as he started putting on weight, he was back. ... He really likes being outside."

Though he enjoys all kinds of sports - including watching his cousin, Matt Strahm, play baseball for the Packers and Patriots - Brody especially loves soccer.

This summer, Brody got the chance to practice soccer with West Fargo varsity players, including incoming junior Jake Kroke, who was his coach. It was Kroke and the other boys soccer players who picked Brody for a special cause.

This year's Sixth Annual West Fargo Alumni Scrimmage will be used as a fundraiser for Brody. It is the second time the scrimmage has helped a local soccer player with health problems, varsity boys soccer coach Doug Millar said.

"I thought it was pretty nice of them," Kelsey said, of finding out about the fundraiser.

All past West Fargo boys soccer alumni are invited to participate in the scrimmage, which will be played at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, at the Lodoen Stadium.

"This year's WF Boys Varsity Soccer squad looks forward to the opportunity of scrimmaging many of the past players that have donned the Green and White," Millar said, in an e-mail.

The two West Fargo junior varsity squads also will hold a scrimmage that night at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Millar at 367-8141.