DAVIDSON – The Community School of Davidson boys and girls varsity soccer teams scrimmaged for the first time April 22. But the game was more than friendly play. It was a chance for the community to support students who are mourning the loss of their mother.
When Jodie Swift-Christian unexpectedly died April 3, she left behind four children. Claire, Caoimche and Ruari are sophomores at the Community School of Davidson. Their younger brother, Conor, is in eighth grade at Lake Norman Charter.
When the Community School of Davidson student and soccer player Kevin Yascur heard his peers’ loss, he took action.
The two teams have wanted to play each other for a while, he explained. “Once this happened with their mom, I was thinking well why don’t we charge admission and whatever we get, we’ll give to them,” he said.
He, a friend and Yascur’s father – who is the boys head soccer coach and girls assistant soccer coach – obtained about $500 in gift cards from businesses to give to the Swift-Christian family.
Several hundred people came to the scrimmage to support the students. Between the gift cards, sales of baked goods and admission, the siblings were given nearly $4,000.
“This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for us,” Claire Swift-Christian said. She and her siblings noted how special it was that the event was organized by peers.
Jodie Swift-Christian passed away two days after her 51th birthday and two days before her triplets turned 17. The cause of death is not known, but her brother Rodger Christian said he believes she died of an infection from untreated kidney stones.
“She never met a stranger,” he said with a fond smile. “She was just that type of person. Every time we’d get together for the holidays, there was someone there I didn’t know.”
Caoimche said her mother would be crying if she were at the benefit game.
“She’d be giving everybody a hug,” she said. “She’d do anything to help people. She would have done something like this.”
Ruari recalled her mother’s sense of humor and said she was telling jokes up until her death.
The four siblings' uncle, Rodger Christian, is staying with them until their grandparents move from Florida to live with them. Their father Ciaran Swift died in 2004.
Girls head soccer coach Chad Solomonson said he wasn’t surprised at the good turnout, which some parents said was the best turn out the school’s seen for any soccer game.
The lacrosse and baseball teams cancelled practiced so players and coaches could attend the scrimmage. Students and coaches said coming together when there’s a need is just what the Community School of Davidson does.
“We talked a lot about making sure this was a fun event,” Solomonson said. His girls team is 10-1 and about to head into post-season play, but that was set aside for the afternoon. “The whole goal of this is for the family, the Swift-Christian family, so that’s what’s been on everyone’s mind.”
Want to help?
Fifth Third Bank has an account in the name of The Swift-Christian Family were donations can be made. The money will be used to help the children attend college.