RAGE KICKER RAISES AWARENESS AND MONEY FOR ST. JUDE
Aug. 1, 2007
Story provided by Aaron McCreight, River City Rage Media Relations
ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Derek Kutz didn't know how far he would make it in professional football. What he did know, however, is that he wanted to make a difference. He founded "Touchdown For A Cure," a foundation organized to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, in 2004.
"While I was in college I would see all of these professional athletes trying to raise money for different causes," says Kutz. "I didn't know if I would make it to the pro level so I decided to start my foundation while I was still in school."
Kutz, a Perryville, Mo., native, attended Southeast Missouri State University where he was the team's kicker from 2001-04 and served as a team captain in both '03 and '04. He joined the River City Rage this season. He finished the regular season second in the league in field goal percentage. When asked how he decided on St. Jude's, Kutz said the choice was easy.
"We had a family friend, the Wibbenmeyer's," Kutz said. "Their son, Nathan, was diagnosed with cancer when he was nine and passed away just before his 16th birthday. Nathan spent time at St. Jude during his treatment and I knew they were a great organization and needed all of the help they could get."
"Our head coach at SEMO, Tim Billings, lost his wife to cancer as well," Kutz added. "So everyone there was willing to help as well. We started out with people pledging certain amounts of money per field goal or touchdown and it was a enormous success. So when I left school I needed to find a way to continue raising money."
Kutz now hosts an annual golf tournament in Ste. Genevieve, MO. His "Touchdown 4 A Cure - Kickin' for the Kids of St. Jude" raised $10,164 this year alone.
"Everyone I know is interested in golf," said Kutz. "So when I was trying to figure out what fundraising avenue to take, it was pretty simple. The tournament has turned out to be huge. There is no doubt that we will keep it going for the foreseeable future."
Asked whether he has anything else in mind for the future, Kutz was quick with the answer.
"I would eventually like to get involved with the Make A Wish Foundation," he said. "I would love the chance to work directly with those kids and try to make their day a little better."