For Immediate Release
Getting A HEAD of Cancer
Contact: Pat Colleluori
HEADstrong Announces New Team, Minnesota Joins The Fight Against Blood Cancer
Minnesota- The HEADstrong Foundation is proud to welcome a newly formed Team HEADstrong playing out of Minnesota. Minnesota marks the 6th state to formally launch a HEADstrong lacrosse program this year. The team is highly anticipated and there is much excitement surrounding this addition to the HEADstrong lacrosse family, which will consist of 3 teams in their inaugural year including a 2016, 2015 and U-15 team. And while based in the Midwest the roots of this team stem back to a personal encounter that coach Patrick Donaghy had with the Colleluori family at HEADstrong Foundation’s inaugural event at Villanova University in 2006.
“I happened to attend the very first HEADstrong event in 2006 at Villanova it was a professional lacrosse game before the Foundation as we know it today even existed. I was blown away at the passion of the Colleluori family and to this day their passion blows me away. My family also has very close ties to Hofstra Lacrosse with my brother Gerry having played from 99-02 and my nephew Brian from 91-94, so I have always known about Nick’s story. I share Nick’s story with the many high school and youth teams that I coach. Every team that I coach I award a lime green HEADstrong pinnie to the hardest working player at practice. Once I found out there was the opportunity to be a part of the HEADstrong family by starting a lacrosse club, I knew I had to do it.” says Donaghy
The HEADstrong cause is one that is incredibly near to Coach Patrick Donaghy who is relentlessly working to grow the game in Minnesota. Donaghy has local ties to the Philadelphia area where he played lacrosse at Swarthmore College 1994-1997. Following his years at Swarthmore, he played for the Scotland National team in the European Championships from 1999-2001. He then returned to his Alma Matre in the role of assistant coach at Swarthmore College for 5 years. From 1999-2001 he was the head high school coach in Delaware at Newark HS and in 2003 at Delcastle Tech. Upon relocating to Minnesota, he became an assistant coach at Woodbury HS (2009 -2011) and now serves as the head coach at Cretin-Derham Hall. Donaghy is also on the board of the Youth Lacrosse of Minnesota, the largest youth lacrosse organization in Minnesota. He has also coached youth lacrosse in the Woodbury program since 2008 and is also a certified referee.
With the popularity of the sport exploding in the state, the coaching staff in Minnesota values and understands the importance of creating an amazing experience focusing on developing great athletes while teaching players life skills, sportsmanship and the importance of giving back to the community. This team is looking to help gain players from the state more exposure and a provide a broader sense of the opportunities within the game. An emphasis will be placed on making a difference in the local blood cancer community through service and generating of funds to support the HEADstrong Foundation’s service mission.
“We are hoping to build something special, through the many resources that we have as coaches we have gained a lot of support for the lacrosse club. This is an opportunity for players to play year round. The University of Minnesota Gophers lacrosse team, led by Rich Limpert, has embraced the goal of the club and has already held a successful clinic on our behalf and plans to continue our partnership throughout the year through quarterly clinics. The dedicated parents, coaches, and players in Minnesota have been an inspiration to me to do more and I hope this club is a positive for the state as a whole.” says Donaghy
“We are incredibly grateful to Patrick Donaghy and the Minnesota lacrosse community for believing in our mission and joining our fight. We have been very blessed to be given the opportunity to share our story and Nick’s legacy with the lacrosse community on several occasions and have forged wonderful relationships with so many who have been inspired through our efforts. Patrick Donaghy is one of these special people who met us at our first event ever in partnership with the Philadelphia Barrage in 2006. It is heartwarming to see the love for Nick continue and players from across the world finding strength and hope in his name. We welcome Team HEADstrong Minnesota to our family and look forward to working together. We wish to thank Patrick Donaghy for his relentlessness in getting this program started and best of luck to the newest players of Team HEADstrong.
– Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom
About HEADstrong Lacrosse Club
The HEADstrong Lacrosse Club operates as a division of the HEADstrong Foundation. While promoting blood cancer awareness on the playing field, players for Team HEADstrong are also committed to providing service to their local communities.
The lacrosse club has established itself as a preeminent lacrosse organization that has grown nationally to provide an unmatched standard of excellence both athletically and academically.
HEADstrong Lacrosse Club identifies, recruits, trains, teaches and coaches players capable of, but more importantly committed to playing the sport of lacrosse at its highest level.
Both players and coaches serve as ambassadors for the sport, always ready to pass along knowledge that we have learned from our experience. They are committed to generating funds for players who through illness are no longer able to join them on the field. The actions taken in attaining these goals are consistent with the highest levels of citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play.
The goal of Team HEADstrong is to promote excellence within the game and create an unparalleled experience, sharing the importance of family, brotherhood and service within the sport of lacrosse.
About the HEADstrong Foundation:
HEADstrong Foundation works to advocate, raise funds for and to support those affected by blood cancer or working to eliminate it. HEADstrong Foundation generates funds for blood cancer research, distributes grants and provides assistance to patients and survivors of blood cancer. In addition, HEADstrong Foundation awards scholarships and grants for students with ambitions of entering the medical field. Founder Nick “Head” Colleluori” attended Hofstra University where he played lacrosse. While at Hofstra Nick was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. While sick he began counseling other patients and began laying the framework for what would become the HEADstrong Foundation, in an effort to raise cancer awareness and help others and future patients that found themselves in a similar situation. In August of 2006 he even found the strength to play in one last lacrosse game. Nick passed away on November 28, 2006 at the age of 21. Even though he is gone, his memory and relentless determination lives on through the HEADstrong Foundation.