Thursday June 09, 2016
2015 saw the loss of Stefan Pierson, who, at age 22, was in his fourth year of battling bone cancer. Having grown up in the Islands of Lake Champlain, he was a 2011 graduate of South Burlington High School (SBHS). Many might know him as a competitive athlete and avid outdoor enthusiast, as well as being the captain of both the varsity soccer and alpine skiing teams. Beyond the classroom, soccer field, and mountains, Pierson left behind a legacy of courage and inspiration, displaying how to live life to the fullest, despite fighting an immense, personal battle. His positivity is the inspiration behind the mission of Conquer the Day, The Stefan Pierson Foundation. Its goal is to provide support to young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who are battling cancer; to give them the opportunity to conquer the day, to live life to the fullest, and to continue to positively impact those around them. The foundation accomplishes this mission through providing such support as adaptive equipment to continue favorite activities, opportunities to learn a new skill or develop an existing hobby, or trips to ease the impact of chemotherapy. Pierson’s friend and classmate, Alex Saunders, initiated the start of these ideas in the fall of 2013 by collecting donations via the internet to fulfill Pierson’s long held wish to attend a World Cup Soccer tournament. Her endeavor is the genesis of the nonprofit organization, Conquer the Day, The Stefan Pierson Foundation. Currently, foundation organizers are at work creating two fundraising events that will be held this summer. They invite the public to participate and have fun, all the while helping to support local young adults living with cancer.
The Stefan Pierson Memorial Soccer Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, July 16, at the UVM Athletic complex. It is an all-day event with games for teams of all ages, including an Invitational Metro Division I High School Alumni tournament in the evening. There is a nominal entry fee for this event. Teams can submit the name/s of a loved one whose life has been impacted by cancer. In addition, donations in memory of loved ones are invited and their names will be recognized.
Next will be The Stefan Pierson Foundation Launch Fund-raiser Saturday, August 13, at the Snow Farm Vineyard and Winery in South Hero. This event includes dinner and dancing with music provided by Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band and Gang of Thieves. This year’s SBHS talent show winner “Outdoor Voices” will be the opening act. Tickets are available at conquertheday.org.
SBHS Principal Patrick Burke says of Pierson, “The kinds of events and activities being organized to support the Conquer the Day Foundation are exactly the types of activities that Stefan poured his heart and soul into! Stefan’s energy, spirit, and work ethic continue to impact our South Burlington High School community.”
Conquer the Day, the name of the Stefan Pierson Foundation, was inspired by Pierson himself and his relentless spirit, determination, and boundless resolve. Despite living with the challenges of a terrible disease, Pierson faced every morning the same as he always had - with a plan to conquer the day. Following Pierson’s passing at the end of September, his family and friends were determined to further his desire to help others in similar situations.
The organizers of the Conquer the Day summer events hope the community will “consider helping play forward Stefan’s legacy by attending and helping those like Stefan live their lives to the fullest, too.” For more information about the foundation and how to participate in the fundraising events, visit https://conquertheday.org.
SOURCE: Allison Judge, Director, Outreach, Conquer the Day, The Stefan Pierson Foundation