Tackling Childhood Cancer

Tackling Childhood cancer image
Redskins LB Coach Kirk Olivadotti with Kasyn and Kruz.

Tackling is a tough job for NFL linebackers. Tackling childhood cancer is even tougher.

But the Washington Redskins linebacker crew was up to the task after being challenged by Washington Redskins inside linebackers coach, Kirk Olivadotti.

Fundraiser for Curing Kids Cancer

Kirk told his players that he would donate $10 for every tackle they made during September – National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – to the charity Curing Kids Cancer.

Kirk’s support of Curing Kids Cancer is not surprising considering his experience with childhood cancer. The Olivadotti family’s life began to change in 2011. First, it was moving to Georgia where Kirk took a coaching position at the University of Georgia. Within three weeks of the move, the Olivadotti’s daughter Kasyn was diagnosed with leukemia.


Support surrounded the Olivadotti family as Kasyn began treatment at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Even though they had left Washington, the entire Washington Redskins organization immediately reached out to the family. During this time, Keely, Kasyn’s mother, met Grainne Owen, founder and president of Curing Kids Cancer a 501(c) devoted to funding cutting edge pediatric cancer therapies.

Immediately, the two began to bond over having a child with leukemia. Grainne founded the charity after losing her son Killian to leukemia in 2003.

Kasyn fortunately beat her battle with cancer and is now a cancer survivor! When September, National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, rolled around this year Kirk thought of a great way to give back. He told his players that for every tackle they made he would donate money to the Atlanta based charity. Coach Olivadotti’s players had 85 tackles in four games, raising $850 for Curing Kids Cancer.

“These men took even more pride in their tackles going for a great cause, as well, as doing their job and trying to win football games,” said Kasyn’s mother Keely Olivadotti.

The players that Kirk coaches were fully aware of Kasyn’s battle and this was another way they have continued to show support. Curing Kids Cancer was surprised and delighted with this donation and thanks the Olivadotti family and the Washington Redskins players for helping to fund childhood cancer therapies.

–Abigail Pait

Curing Kids Cancer Video