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A celebration in support of Hood River Valley High School sophomore Jesus Ledezma, a member of the HRVHS boys’ soccer team who was recently diagnosed with leukemia, brought a large crowd to the high school gym and cafeteria Thursday evening. While the number hasn’t been finalized, teacher Carol Birdsell estimates that the event raised well over $9,000 to help with Jesus’ family’s expenses. “It was a huge success,” she said. “People turned out.” The event, “Kicks4Jesus,” featured a futsol tournament and a silent auction, as well as art and tacos for sale, and a poster and soccer ball attendees could sign with messages of support for Jesus and his family. In the tournament, teams of five faced off against each other until only one — Fabian Magaña’s team — was left undefeated. Each player was asked to contribute $20 to participate ($100 for a team of five) and when some teachers found out that some students who wanted to play were financially unable, they stepped up to sponsor teams — creating some playful rivalry between different classes, Birdsell said.

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