Field goals hold double meaning for kicker raising cash for cancer

HOUSTON -- One of the best words to describe Cypress Christian football kicker Landen Nealy is selfless. He's helping kick pediatric cancer, but to really understand the depths of Landen Nealy's heart, you have to know his story.

Nealy is a diabetic whose knee injury on the field two years ago almost cost him his football career.

"One of the doctors said, you may never kick again, you may never step on the football field again. I just took that and said no," Nealy remembers.

Last summer, Nealy lost a teammate and a dear friend, Vincent Salario, to leukemia. He was moved to make a difference.

"I heard about this charity that raises money for pediatric cancer," Nealy says.

The nationwide campaign is called Kick It. Nealy dedicated his senior season to raising money through pledges for each field goal he makes. He's currently the top fundraiser in the nation with more than $21,000.

"So you can either pledge a dollar per kick, or dollar amount per point, $2 per point, $5 per point, or you can go in there and give a lump sum," he explains.

Cypress Christian Head Football Coach Jacob Spenn says, "It's not the usual storyline for a high school football game - where the kicker scores 11 points where thousands of dollars are donated to pediatric cancer."

Now, field goal kickers never want to miss a kick but that has a dual meaning for Landen. Recently he had a tough game where he missed a couple of kicks, and he really beat himself up about it. But at the end, it all worked out.

"I just see all these money donations come in, and there is $200 dollars and $200 dollars and it was close to $1,000 - so through that whole week, I made up all that money," he says.

To make his story even more special, Nealy received a special donation from Natalie Frye, a third grader at Cypress Christian. She had a special request at her birthday party.

"Instead of getting presents, she asked everybody who came to her party to bring money, so she could get it together and give it to me," says Nealy.

How much money did she donate?

Frye says, "$350, from only nine girls, including me."

That's kicking it the right way.

To contribute to Nealy's cause, donate to his Kick-It campaign.
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