College Lacrosse Teams Unite To Support Families Affected By Cancer; Recognizing April As USILA HEADstrong Month
ROCHESTER, NY – The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association is proud to announce plans for HEADstrong Cancer Awareness Month this April. The USILA is empowering more than 360 DI, DII and DIII men’s lacrosse teams to unite on the playing field during the month long campaign to raise awareness and funds to support the essential services offered by the HEADstrong Foundation to help families affected by cancer. Throughout the month teams will be encouraged to pledge a home game and raise funds in support of the cause. Coaches plan to show their support by wearing a commemorative pin and teams are encouraged to further support this initiative by purchasing and wearing “lime green” accessories including shoelaces, knee bands, crew socks or patches. The USILA backed cancer awareness initiative was created in 2016 with a designated week and was expanded in last season to encompass the entire month. In 2017, more than 144 teams raised more than $75,000 to support the cause and this year the USILA is aiming for 100% participation with hopes of raising $127,000 for the cause.
“The role that HEADstrong plays for families facing a cancer battle is critical and overshadowed at times. The financial implications and strain experienced by families dictates course of treatment and the reality is that it is all too often the families will sacrifice the best treatment options due to affordability and accessibility of care. At HEADstrong we are 100% committed to playing an active part a families cancer journey and exist to help them navigate with greater clarity, dignity, normalcy and quality of life. With the recent opening of our second Nick’s House and with our backyard emerging as one of the top destinations for clinical trials we are poised to accommodate the influx of families traveling to the region to seek the best care for their loved ones. We are sincerely proud and humbled by have the support of the USILA and NCAA lacrosse and we take great pride in knowing that our Nick’s legacy lives on through the amazing efforts of the game, more importantly we want our network of teams to know that their efforts on the field are being matched by our relentless efforts to change the game for families facing unthinkable circumstances.” Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong Foundation President & Nick’s Mom.
“During the 30-day period more than 138,800 American families will be heartbroken by the news of a cancer diagnosis. Our hope is that all college lacrosse teams will join our fight, helping to raise awareness and funds, because together we can be the difference for so many. We wish to extend our sincere appreciation to the USILA and the lacrosse community for believing so strongly in our mission.” said Colleluori “We at the USILA are extremely proud of the success and impact of that the HEADstrong Awareness Month has had and this April we are looking to strengthen our commitment to the cause. There are so many of our lacrosse families that have been affected by cancer and April is a way for us to memorialize those who have come before us and have been touched by this disease. We pride ourselves on the aspects of exemplary leadership demonstrated by our players and member institutions during the month and being a supportive arm which will allow HEADstrong and our game to have maximum impact on behalf of families across the country fighting cancer.” Gene McCabe, USILA President
“Lacrosse meant everything to our Nick and it was the hope of one day returning to the field that got him through the darkest days of his life. In a letter written about his love for the game, he wrote “This sport represents my life. It’s the passion, adrenaline, anxiety and excitement that shape us into who we become. When I think back to my childhood, all of my greatest memories came from this sport. I cherish every moment I had on the field.” said Colleluori.
This year, HEADstrong will provide member institutions with resources including custom team specific fundraising pages, which will allow teams the ability use social platforms to fundraising for the cause. Proceeds from the USILA HEADstrong Awareness Month will be used to provide aid to ailing families, financial support to offset incurred medical expenses and funding for Nick’s House, guest family homes operated by the HEADstrong Foundation which provide complimentary lodging for families pursuing life-saving cancer treatment.
About HEADstrong Foundation
In 2005, Nicholas Colleluori, a lacrosse player at Hofstra University was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Colleluori was a Division I lacrosse player entering his sophomore year at Hofstra University when he was terminally diagnosed with cancer. His public fight from the sidelines captivated the nation and from his hospital bed he created an organization focused on empowering student-athletes to improve lives affected by the disease. His vision was simple yet critical; helping real families when they needed it most, providing support so that families may live with a greater dignity and normalcy. Colleluori fought to improve the inpatient experience, the affordability and accessibility of care and tackled the general concerns facing the patient population. Understanding the ripple effect and impact that a cancer diagnosis had on a family, Colleluori championed efforts to support caregivers and capital projects to improve accommodations. He built an awareness platform driven by lime green shoelaces, the national awareness color for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He empowered his own family and in the last days of his life asked them to pick up the ball where he left off. Nicholas lost his valiant battle on November 28th, 2006 but his legacy of toughness and determination lives on in the HEADstrong Foundation. Since 2007, HEADstrong has raised more than $11.5 million supporting more than 15,000 families across the country. For more on the HEADstrong Foundation please visit www.HEADstrong.org.
Founded in 1885, USILA is the longest running college lacrosse organization in the country. USILA provides awards and recognition to NCAA Division I, II, and III men’s lacrosse programs and their players. These awards include National Player of the Year, Player of the Week, Weekly Coaches Poll, All American team selections, Team Milestone Awards, Senior All Star Game and others. The association is entrusted to enhance and develop intercollegiate lacrosse by providing leadership, management, and services to its membership so that student athletes, coaches, institutions, and other constituent groups will realize the maximum benefit from the sport of lacrosse.