Pickering school hosting soccer tourney to honour former student struck down by bone cancer


Published May 18, 2023 at 9:33 am

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Pine Ridge Secondary in Pickering is hosting an elementary school soccer tournament Friday in honour of former student Yusuf Hirji, who died at the tender age of 19 after a three year battle with osteosarcoma – the same disease that struck down Terry Fox.

Hirji was an “exceptionally skilled” soccer player when he was diagnosed with bone cancer and spent the next three years – like Fox – inspiring young people to enjoy life and be the best person they can be.

He underwent a series of treatments and surgeries – some experimental – and kept a positive attitude throughout, even after the cancer returned in 2015 after he thought he had won the battle.

Yusef Hirji died April 9, 2016.

Pine Ridge now hosts an annual soccer tournament in his name with the Durham District School Board saying in a statement that it was Hirji’s wish that “as many students as possible could have the opportunity to enjoy playing this game.”

All funds raised support the Yusef Hirji Memorial Bursary, awarded each year to graduating students at Pine Ridge who have shown positivity and leadership in the face of adversity. Many of the school’s businesses and community partners have made donations to support the event.

The tournament takes place Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pine Ridge Secondary at 2155 Liverpool Road in Pickering.

Yusef Hirji

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