3rd Annual Game Hair Havoc Campaign Raises $109K To Support HEADstrong

(PHILADELPHIA) – While the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has cast a shadow over the 2021 spring season, a resilient group of women’s lacrosse players and teams, led by two amazing heroes turned adversity into opportunity by using their unique hairstyles to raise awareness funds to support families overcome by cancer through Game Hair Havoc.  

Game Hair Havoc is an annual fundraising campaign supporting the HEADstrong Foundation, that encourages women’s lacrosse players and teams to braid and style their hair in preparation for selected workouts, practices and/or competition dates during their season and use those hairstyles as a mechanism for raising funds.  

Over the past four weeks, the initiative led by Eastern University Assistant Coach Jessica Scannapieco as well as Mary Griffin (Virginia Tech) and Marsie Salvatori (Stanford University), two collegiate student-athletes amidst a fight against cancer rallied 1,400 of their peers to raise more than $109,000 for the cause.  The campaign, now in its 3rd year, engaged a record 97 teams and more than 1,900 donors.  

Droves of teams took to their social media feeds to showcase their power buns, braids, ponytails and unique looks to show their support for those who have lost their hair due to the side effects of chemotherapy and cancer treatment.    

Despite the range of circumstances pitted against programs this year, teams found new and exciting ways to compete through the campaign.  While many teams took a traditional route of choosing a designated game to show support, it was the College of Holy Cross women’s lacrosse team who launched a month-long intersquad competition that raised over $16,700 for the cause.  Their efforts were exemplary and set the tone for the campaign.  

This year saw teams thinking outside of the box.  The College of William & Mary women’s lacrosse team hosted the 1st ever Wig-Out Game; which was a fun, creative and unique way to engage supporters. In an effort to build excitement for their game against Campbell University while taking into account restrictions limiting attendance, the Tribe encouraged both in-person and at-home spectators to make pledges while wearing their most outlandish wigs to show their support for the team and those affected by cancer.  Their effort helped raise $6,200 for the cause.  

This year saw opponents working together as Wagner College and Bryant University joined forces by using their scheduled game to raise more than $6,200 for the cause while University of Notre Dame and Robert Morris University rallied over $3,000 for the cause through a game that was postponed and scheduled on the fly.  

With a delayed start to the NESCAC season, Wesleyan University used selected practices and workouts to support the cause.  Others such as Boston College, George Mason University, University of North Carolina, University of Notre Dame, University of Maryland, University of Oregon, Virginia Tech and several others took over HEADstrong Foundation’s social media feed for a day, creating a really unique look into each program and their associated efforts.

And while teams across the country created TikTok videos and social media posts to commemorate the campaign it was the University of Cincinnati Bearcats who had the pleasure of spending time virtually with HEADstrong Hero Anne Hagner, a former Cabrini University lacrosse player now battling Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary Hypercalcemic Type (SCCOHT), a very rare ovarian cancer with only 350 reported cases worldwide.  The limited nature of available treatment took Anne away from her home in Philadelphia to Cincinnati where she received treatment.  The Bearcats women’s lacrosse team rallied around her and officially adopted the Hagner family for their season.  Participation in Game Hair Havoc took on an entirely new meaning when this team literally came face to face with cancer.  

The campaign saw record participation with 97 teams participating.  Below is a listing of the Top 10 Fundraising Teams for Game Hair Havoc 2021.  

  1. College of Holy Cross Women’s Lacrosse – $16,735.75
  2. Adelphi University Women’s Lacrosse – $6,440.86
  3. Bryant University Women’s Lacrosse – $5,987.74
  4. Boston University Women’s Lacrosse –  $5,710.59
  5. College of William & Mary Women’s Lacrosse – $5,316.46
  6. Kennesaw State University Women’s Lacrosse – $3,954.27
  7. Mercy College Women’s Lacrosse – $3,932.41
  8. University of Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse – $3,757.64
  9. Virginia Commonwealth University Women’s Lacrosse – 3,692.36
  10. University of Albany Women’s Lacrosse – $2,890.83

The teams were anchored by some amazing Stylers who embraced the campaign with open arms.  Below is a listing of the Top 10 Individual Stylers for Game Hair Havoc 2021.  

  1. Hannah Barth – Kennesaw State University Women’s Lacrosse – $2,415.04
  2. Sara McKenna – College of Holy Cross Women’s Lacrosse – $1,934.04
  3. Izzy Grant – College of Holy Cross Women’s Lacrosse – $1,637.60
  4. Kelly-Ann McGrath – Adelphi University Women’s Lacrosse – $1,619.20
  5. Aine Maseker – University of Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse – $1,330.40
  6. Jenna Iavaroni – Adelphi University Women’s Lacrosse – $1,086.52
  7. Finley Cassidy – College of Holy Cross Women’s Lacrosse – $1,054.76
  8. Lucy Hauck – College of Holy Cross Women’s Lacrosse – $1,022.50
  9. Bridget Moriatry – College of Holy Cross Women’s Lacrosse – $938.12
  10. Sydney Coles – College of Holy Cross Women’s Lacrosse – $800.00

Proceeds from Game Hair Havoc directly support the essential services provided by the HEADstrong Foundation on behalf of families overcome by cancer, including underwriting nights of lodging and accomodations at Nick’s House, a guest residence operated by the organization for families displaced in the pursuit of advanced cancer care.  In addition, HEADstrong has already earmarked support for several other collegiate lacrosse players navigating their cancer fight.  

“Game Hair Havoc has become a wonderful tradition in the sport of collegiate women’s lacrosse and it means so much to have record participation despite the continued challenges faced by programs across the country.  For many in our game, this fight is personal and we’ve built some really meaningful relationships.  We take the utmost pride in knowing that in a historically difficult time that Game Hair Havoc was viewed as a positive resource that helped coaches to foster a sense of togetherness and camaraderie for their teams.  It provided a constructive and fun outlet for athletes and we are really excited for the campaign’s future.  Given the climate we approached this campaign very sensitively and together we created something really special that uplifted and empowered teams and helped to uphold team culture in a very untraditional time.  At HEADstrong the pandemic has only intensified the role that we play for families and given the historic demand that we’ve experienced we are truly honored to be able to play a greater position during this time through the success of Game Hair Havoc.  On behalf of the HEADstrong Foundation, the Colleluori family and those who rely on our services, we extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to everyone who embraced, participated and contributed to Game Hair Havoc.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President & Nick’s Mom.

For more information on the campaign, go to www.GameHairHavoc.com and follow the campaign on social @GameHairHavoc.  For more information on the cause, please visit www.HEADstrong.org or @HEADstrongFND.