IPSWICH (CBS) – Ipswich took on Georgetown varsity soccer on Thursday night, but the star was an eleven-year old girl.
Talia Duff’s friends surrounded her at a game played in her name. When asked what it was like having a soccer game played for her, Talia said, “It’s been great, and I love it.”
Talia has Down syndrome. Separate from that, a couple years ago she was diagnosed with an incredibly rare genetic disease.
“CMT4J it’s a lot like ALS. People with CMT4J get very weak they lose use of their legs and arms,” her mother Jocelyn Duff said. “We are approaching a cure with CMT4J for Talia and others with gene therapy.”
The teams face each other twice a season. Starting this year – the second game raises money for a non-profit. Ipswich immediately knew helping Talia was their goal.
“They are just a great family. She’s such a great girl. She lights up a room,” said Cowan McCormick, Ipswich co-captain.
Money raised through donations and raffles at the game go toward the Duff’s Cure CMT4J Foundation to help researchers develop a cure for Talia and others.
“I want to thank you all so much,” said Jocelyn Duff to the teams and crowd.
The Ipswich players gave Talia a team jersey and a soccer ball autographed by all the players. Both teams donned special laces for the cause.
Their efforts provided the Duffs with much more. “Dealing with a disease is always stressful, straining and then you come to an event like this,” said Talia’s father John Duff.
Ipswich and the neighboring communities have raised $300,000. The foundation’s goal is one-million dollars. The website is curecmt4j.org