You don’t have to look too hard if you’re trying to find Pat Warrington on Sundays. From March to May, and again from September to November, Warrington’s schedule is plenty booked.
Warrington runs the Delco Flag League, an adult flag football league established in 2009 that will feature 150 athletes this spring, spread out over 10 teams. The league plays five games per day. In the fall, the numbers shrink a little bit with good reason – most of the players want to get home in time for the 1 p.m. NFL kickoffs – which means a two or three-game day.
“We have people from all over in the league,” Warrington said. “We have 40-year-olds and weekend warriors, but we also have guys who played Division I, Division II and Division III coming out on Sundays to compete.”
A Folcroft native and alumnus of Monsignor Bonner, Warrington started the league when he went to school at Southern Vermont College in Bennington (Vt.), obviously under a different name. Once he came back to Delaware County, he wanted to continue what he’d started, and since then, the league has continuously grown on an annual basis.
This year, though, Warrington decided that he wanted to do something a little different with the league. He sought out area non-profits to help support, and once he learned more about The HEADstrong Foundation and its mission, decided that he wanted to play a role in helping out those affected by cancer.
“It’s pretty hard to ask people if they’ve been affected by cancer and hear, ‘no,’” Warrington said. “I had heard about HEADstrong in high school and knew it started in Ridley, plus my dad had played football with (HEADstrong founder Nick Collelulroi’s father) Mr. (Pat) Colleluori. I was looking for something with Delco roots and athletic roots, since we’re an athletic organization.”
The Delco Flag League offers a cash prize to its winner. However, this year the league will donate a portion of that prize directly to the HEADstrong Foundation. Warrington is also looking for more ways to help, including the possibility of players fundraising and potentially offering prizes for players and teams who raise the most funds.
Established in 2006 during Nick Colleluori’s battle with blood cancer, the HEADstrong Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to improve lives affected by cancer. HEADstrong provides to families in need through its fundraising efforts and through Nick’s House, which offers out-of-area cancer patients and their families free housing while in the Philadelphia area for treatment.
“It’s such a great cause to be able to help out patients and house these families, especially with Philly being such a hotspot for cancer research and treatment,” Warrington said. “When I saw everything that HEADstrong does, it was almost a no-brainer for me to help out how I could. I know for myself, my dad has lost a brother and two sisters to cancer, so it’s definitely affected my family and unfortunately, I’m sure it will continue.”
Warrington and the Delco Flag League’s generosity and thoughtfulness isn’t lost on Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong’s President and Nick’s mom. Putting the needs of others ahead of one’s own was always a sticking point for her son, and it’s something that has carried over into the day-to-day life at HEADstrong.
“We’re extremely grateful to have the support from Pat Warrington and the Delco Flag League,” Colleluori said. “It’s humbling and amazing to see whenever people are eager to help the HEADstrong Foundation, and for them to choose us as someone to help is a blessing. It’s that kind of selflessness that helps us continue in our daily fight against cancer.”
For more information on the HEADstrong Foundation, please visit www.HEADstrong.org.
About HEADstrong Foundation
The HEADstrong Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to improving lives affected by cancer. HEADstrong was founded by Nicholas Colleluori, a Division I athlete 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. It’s a promise that the Colleluori family continues to fulfill through the essential programs and services offered by the HEADstrong Foundation, www.HEADstrong.org. HEADstrong invests more than $.90 of every dollar into a service offering 100% committed to improving the quality of life for families affected by cancer. HEADstrong grants financial assistance, funds projects to improve the inpatient experience, provides meals and outlets of entertainment, delivers comfort kits, peer support and most notably operates Nick’s House™, a haven of comfort for families seeking comprehensive cancer care.