Field goals aren’t the only thing Robbie Gould plans on kicking this football season — he’s thrown cancer into the mix as well with his “Going GOULD for Pediatric Cancer” campaign. Over the course of the 2020-2021 NFL season, Gould has pledged $500 to Illinois nonprofit Cal’s Angels for every field goal he makes, with an ultimate goal of $50,000.
The San Francisco 49ers placekicker is no stranger to the world of pediatric cancer. Gould, who had a successful stint with the Chicago Bears from 2005 to 2015, has been involved in funding the fight against the disease for many years. Giving back to communities was instilled in him at a young age, and he now uses his platform to aid in a cause that he has always been drawn toward.
“As an athlete, you’re given a platform where you can make a difference,” says Gould. “And you can create change. Along the way, you meet some incredible families through Cal’s Angels, and their employees and their board of directors, and you just understand what they’re doing as an organization.”
Gould was introduced to Cal’s Angels when his Chicago nonprofit, The Goulden Touch, partnered with Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for a golf tournament. There, Gould met families connected with Cal’s Angels, a pediatric cancer foundation that grants wishes, raises awareness and funds research. Cal’s Angels has an enormous presence in many Chicagoland hospitals that treat pediatric cancer cases, serving tens of hundreds of families.
One family is the Ewoldts, whose son Chase has been battling a very rare type of brain cancer since he was two years old. Chase is now 10, and Gould has developed an unbreakable bond with him and his family ever since meeting them at that golf tournament years ago.
“He and his siblings have become very close with my family,” says Gould, who has three young sons of his own. “I think the relationship that I have with him, and what I’ve seen him and his family go through, and to be able to be a part of that in close capacity and watching what Cal’s have been able to do to help his family or to help everybody with pediatric cancer makes a huge difference for me.”
The concept behind “Going GOULD” just seemed to make sense to Gould, who owns Eventlify, an event management software company. With COVID-19 restrictions, many nonprofits are unable to host their annual fundraising events like galas and runs. Pivoting to virtual events has been successful in some ways, but organizations are struggling to find adequate funding during a time when nonessential spending is low. With national sports like football still able to take place for the time being, Gould realized he could use the opportunity with his company’s technology to raise money and awareness.
“I think when you’re in the middle of a season, and you’re watching what families are going through and you have the ability to make a difference, and I have the technology very readily available with my company — it made sense for us and myself to get behind the campaign,” Gould says.
Though Gould may not play for a Chicago team anymore, he still considers the city home and is enthusiastic about being able to bring national attention to one of its most reputable pediatric cancer nonprofits.
“Even though I’m in California, this is something that can resonate in Chicago or California,” Gould says. “It’s been pretty remarkable to hear people’s stories. At some point, everybody’s been touched, in some capacity […] Our goal is to hopefully create this awareness and tell people that it’s OK.”
To help “Going GOULD for Pediatric Cancer” reach its $50,000 goal, donate at kicks4kids.eventlify.com. Fifty percent of proceeds from the official “Kicks for Kids” gear goes toward supporting Cal’s Angels.