PHILADELPHIA – The HEADstrong Foundation is proud to announce the appointment of Princeton men’s lacrosse head coach Chris Bates to an advisory role with the non-profit organization.  The HEADstrong Foundation is committed to improving quality of life families affected by cancer.  Bates has joined the organization as a liaison to the NCAA men’s lacrosse coaches’ network and plans to help effectively communicate their efforts and rally support of their mission in the collegiate game.

The devastation of cancer is a reality all too familiar to Bates whose wife Ann batted the disease for more than 9 years, initially being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2003, but after it went into remission for several years she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. The brain tumor returned in 2009.  In 2011, Ann lost her courageous battle, leaving behind her loving family, friends and a call to action.  During Ann’s battle, Chris balanced being a caregiver, a supportive husband, a nurturing father, a friend, an advocate and a coach.  The lessons that he learned during this time have shaped him into the person that he is today.  Chris is committed to giving relentlessly of himself and identified with the critical role that HEADstrong plays in the lives of so many who have been devastated by the realities of cancer.

“I am honored to help the HEADstrong mission in any way that I can.  I have seen firsthand the powerful impact that the organization is having on the lives of patients and families affected by cancer.  HEADstrong’s advocacy and support for these folks is amazing.  They serve as a wonderful resource for folks who truly need it.” said Bates

“First and foremost we wish to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Chris for believing in our mission and joining our efforts.  In our darkest days, it was people like Chris and Ann, who stepped forward to assure us that we were not alone.  As a caregiver himself, Chris understands firsthand the struggle experienced by so many families affected by cancer and we know that he will be a tremendous voice for our organization.” Said Cheryl Colleluori, HF President and Nick’s Mom

Ann’s legacy continues through the incredible work of “Ann’s Love Build’s” a project based organization that has brought together members of her medical community, their church and the lacrosse world for projects in the Philadelphia area, Camden, Princeton, and Trenton that included rebuilding houses and churches and constructing playgrounds and gardens in underserved neighborhoods.  The group continues to support the completion of the brand-new Ann Bates Memorial Hospital Building in Berekum, Ghana.  The hospital is in the process of being converted from an outpatient clinic to a modern, two-story, and in-patient hospital.

“We are truly moved by Chris’s commitment to serving others to ensure Ann’s legacy lives on.  There are so many synergies, especially our interest of being able to have the largest impact on behalf of those who need it most, our love for team athletics and our appreciation for the difference teams can make when inspired.”

While Ann’s Love Builds has captured the heart and spirit of Chris’s beloved wife Ann, he also finds hope and strength in the mission of the HEADstrong Foundation.  Bates, first met the Colleluori family while recruiting Nicholas Colleluori during his junior year at Ridley High School in Folsom, PA.  When Colleluori was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the fall of 2005, Bates was one of the first people to reach out to see how he could help.  At the time, he was at the helm of the Drexel men’s lacrosse program which helped to introduce HEADstrong to the lacrosse world by becoming the first men’s college team to wear, HEADstrong’ s iconic lime green shoelaces against University of Virginia just after months after Colleluori’s untimely passing.

Under the direction of Bates, Princeton has been involved with the cause, participating annually in Lacrosse Mustache Madness and hosting an awareness game during the regular season.  This past weekend the Princeton Tigers faced-off against the University of Maryland in support of HEADstrong.

Please visit www.HEADstrong.org to learn more about how the HEADstrong Foundation is improving lives affected by cancer.

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