PHILADELPHIA, PA – Over the past year, lacrosse star and former James Madison All-American attacker Stephanie Finley has been in the fight of her life against cancer. In March 2018, after experiencing symptoms, Finley was diagnosed with Chordoma, an extremely rare cancer that occurs in the bones of the skull base and spine. Chordoma is diagnosed in just one in one million people each year, which equates to only 300 patients in the US annually and less than 100,000 worldwide. Since her diagnosis, Finley has underwent multiple surgeries and procedures to minimize her tumors and now she is fighting back by joining forces with the HEADstrong Foundation to ignite the philanthropic spirit of women’s game in an effort to help families overcome by cancer.
Together, Finley and HEADstrong have created an amazing way to strengthen their commitment to families from across the country through hair braiding and styling on the field. Welcome Game Hair Havoc, a new tradition in women’s lacrosse, which will officially kick-off on February 17th and run through March 31st. The campaign is the sister to Lacrosse Mustache Madness and is an online fundraising campaign encouraging women’s lacrosse players and teams to braid and style their game day hair to raise awareness and funds for the HEADstrong Foundation. Click here to watch a video on the new campaign.
Throughout her playing career Finley, like many women’s athletes braided her hair. In the locker-room unique hairstyles such as Power Buns, Boxer Braids, Ponytail Braids, etc have not only been practical in keeping hair out of faces but rather an expressive and powerful symbol of strength, determination and inspiration. Finley not only styled her hair before competition, but was her team’s designated hair-braider. During her time at James Madison University, Finley became a hair-braiding expert, a skill that would serve an entirely different purpose years later as she has found it has a practical way to tie-back tubes and IV’s used to administer medication and fluids while hospitalized for treatment.
Registration will officially open on February 1st and will continue throughout the duration of the 6-week campaign. Stylers and teams are being encouraged to register as early as possible. The campaign will run through March 31st, a date marking the 1-year anniversary of Finley’s earth-shattering diagnosis. Throughout the campaign, individual Stylers will be encouraged to style their hair, share their inspiration and unique looks using social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) alongside of their fundraising link. Funds will tally to team fundraising totals which will allow teams to vie for Game Hair Supremacy! Finley and HEADstrong are looking to engage women’s lacrosse players and teams from across the country.
“The past few months have certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions. I am so very thankful for the love and support of friends, family, the lacrosse community and the HEADstrong Foundation. Right now, I am focusing on controlling the controllables and truly living in the moment. I have never backed down from a challenge and I believe strongly that being an athlete has truly prepared me to take on this beast of a disease. Surrounding myself with positivity is equally as important as my treatment and I could not think of a better way to do just that, then through collaborating with the HEADstrong Foundation to rally the collegiate women’s lacrosse community to help people like me. Together we are hoping to make a huge impact for families across the country by empowering ladies to braid and style their hair for a higher purpose.” Stephanie Finley, Game Hair Havoc Co-Founder
“Over the past year, our fundraising team challenged themselves to create a unique way to engage and unite women’s lacrosse players and teams in support of our mission. Hair styling and braiding is an amazing and empowering phenomenon in women’s sports that we believed needed to be celebrated and provided an incredible opportunity to further our commitment to heroes fighting this terrible disease. Our hearts are with all women fighting cancer and those who have lost their hair as the result of chemotherapy. At HEADstrong we believe in the importance of empowering our supporters and it is our commitment to provide unique ways of rallying support. Given the circumstances surrounding our hero Stephanie Finley, we are in awe of her courage, her resilience and resolve in the face of cancer. We are honored to fight alongside of her and proud to launch this amazing campaign.” Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom
Game Hair Havoc will also be highlighted with incredible contests, prizes and giveaways including a Grand Individual Fundraising Prize of 2 VIP Passes of Your Choice to 1 of 3 2019 Summer Music Festivals including The Governors Ball, Randall’s Island, NYC May 31-June 2; Carolina Country Music Festival, Myrtle Beach, SC, June 6-9 or Firefly Music Festival, Dover, DE, June 21-23.
The funds raised will be essential in funding nights at Nick’s House, a guest family home operated by the HEADstrong Foundation for families financially overwhelmed and pursuing life-saving treatment, which as required them to travel far from their homes.
Athletes and teams can register at GameHairHavoc.com and learn more at HEADstrong.org.