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'Jacob's Angels' 6-Man Team Plays with a Purpose

Aug 03, 2017 11:59PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Jacob's Angels pose with Jacob and his family, along with Kerri Walsh and her children. Photo credit: Jim Bryant

As the Charlie Saikley 6-Man Volleyball Tournament gets underway this weekend, one team is aiming for more than bragging rights on the court. The all-women's "Jacob's Angels" team will be playing to raise awareness of a rare form of bone cancer, Ewing's sarcoma, in honor of Jacob Conde, a local-11-year old who suffers from the disease.

Conde was diagnosed with the disease when he was 9, after complaining about a pain in his leg that didn't feel right. "How easy would it be for any parent to discount a claim made by a 9-year old stating that his leg hurt?" asked Chris Cordoba, the team sponsor and a business partner of Jacob's father Roger. "Therein lies the driving force of our team and most importantly Jacob – creating awareness, and bringing to light how a seemingly harmless claim from child is so important, and something not to be ignored or automatically dismissed."

Cordoba said that when Jacob learned about the team, his first thought was not about himself, but rather, “If it helps others, well, then, let’s do it!” - meaning raising awareness about spotting Ewing’s Sarcoma early if anyone else has the misfortune of the same diagnosis. 

"While it is an honor to play for Jacob, it is really Jacob who has been an inspiration to all of those around him," added Cordoba. "He has been so brave and inspiring to so many, that we wanted to play for him and hopefully give him something to cheer about for a change. With Jacob as our honorary captain, it is a reminder for all of us to cherish our health, the people in our lives, the things we love to do, and every moment you have the opportunity to do something for others, something greater than yourself."

Cordoba said that while this is the sixth year he has sponsored a team, this year was particularly special because it involved a personal commitment on everyone's part to raise awareness of the cause. "Everyone involved basically has a love for life, people, and volleyball," he added.

Team leader Amy Hvitfeldsten Zytkiewicz described a photo session earlier this week with Jacob and volleyball great Kerri Walsh as "beyond incredible."

"It was so touching, moving and uplifting, and a true joy for all of us to see Jacob smile," said

Hvitfeldsten Zytkiewicz. "We look forward to creating beautiful 6-Man memories and fighting for Jacob on the Manhattan Beach sand."

The team is grateful for the support of Kerri Walsh, who posed for photos with Jacob and family; photographer Jim Bryant; Body Glove, who donated swimwear; and Dive N' Surf for additional support.

Those who are interested in learning more about Jacob's journey are invited to visit his "Jacob's Journey - Sarcoma Sucks" Facebook page.

For those interested in making a monetary donation to help further Ewing’s Sarcoma research, the Conde family has requested that donations be sent to: UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, c/o Noah Federman, M.D., Pediatric Sarcoma Program Ewing’s Sarcoma Research. Contact: Melissa Brody (Director of Stewardship):  [email protected]

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