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February 9, 2012
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Truckee soccer | Former Wolverine standout diagnosed with Leukemia

MORAGA, Calif. — Members of the Saint Mary's men's soccer team will be at upcoming Gaels sporting events to accept donations to help offset medical costs for senior forward Emmanuel Sarabia of Truckee, who is currently undergoing treatment for Leukemia.

Nicknamed “Morro” by his uncle as a baby, Sarabia was admitted to Tahoe Forest Hospital early last week before transferring to UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco on Friday. After undergoing a series of tests, the Truckee native was diagnosed with Leukemia, a rare cancer of the immune system.

Sarabia's teammates will be at various Saint Mary's athletic events over the next several weeks, including Saturday's sold-out Bay Area rivalry men's basketball game against Santa Clara at McKeon Pavilion. The team will accept cash and/or checks made out directly to Saint Mary's College Men's Soccer. Contributions are not tax deductible.

Checks can also be mailed directly to the athletic department with “Morro” noted on the check. Mail to: Saint Mary's College, Athletic Business Office, P.O. Box 4380, Moraga, CA 94575.

The team will also be selling specially-designed gold-colored wristbands with “Hope is Golden” displayed on one side and “SMC ES” on the other. The cost will be $5 and the bracelets are expected to be available at Saturday's game. The team is also planning additional fundraising efforts around the community.

“The moment we heard about Morro's situation, we were moved to do everything we could to help him and his family,” said Doug Herrick, a senior goalkeeper on last year's team. “Our team has such a strong sense of family and Morro is an integral part of our team and our community. We obviously have very little control over the situation but we are going to help to whatever degree we can.”

After opening his career with a successful inaugural season in 2008, during which he was named to the West Coast Conference all-freshman team, Sarabia has started a total of 38 games in his three seasons for the Gaels.

Sarabia, who turned 21 in December, missed the 2010 season due to a serious knee injury suffered in a preseason game at Sonoma State. In that game at SSU, he scored twice and added an assist before a 55th-minute collision with the Seawolves' goalkeeper ended his season.

After undergoing rehabilitation following ACL surgery, he returned to the field last season to start 15 of his 19 appearances. He was a key member of the Gaels' record-setting team that won the program's first-ever WCC championship and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. Sarabia provided the game-winning assist on a long crossing pass to Jose Cabeza against San Diego that clinched the league title.

“Morro has certainly dealt with his share of adversity during his time here at Saint Mary's,” said head Coach Adam Cooper. “But, he has such a positive outlook and work ethic. He worked really hard to successfully come back from his knee injury. I know he is going to battle through this and come back stronger and more determined than ever.”

— This article is from the Saint Mary's athletic website, http://smcgaels.com.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Feb 10, 2012 07:49PM Published Feb 9, 2012 08:01PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.