Lacrosse Mustache Madness To Rally Around Marietta MLaxCaptain & Cancer Fighter Chad Stowell
Contact: Pat Colleluori
(PHILADELPHIA) – From the moment Chad Stowell stepped onto campus at Marietta College, he made an impact. Stowell, a native of Watertown, MN aspired to play lacrosse at the collegiate level and found an incredible opportunity in Marietta, Ohio, a 14-hour drive from his hometown. Despite the travel distance, the athletic program’s vision appealed to Chad who was determined to compete for a spot early in his career. He was coming into a unique situation at Marietta where the Men’s Lacrosse program had not competed in nearly two decades, but was making a return to DIII athletics. In a very short period of time, Stowell’s outstanding leadership both on and off the field earned him the respect of his teammates. At the conclusion of his successful fall campaign, Coach Shawn Runyon named him a team captain.
“From the moment we recruited Chad, we knew he was the type of player that we could build a culture and team around,” said Runyon.
Stowell’s freshman campaign was marked with countless highlights. He was a force to be reckoned with on the field, finishing the season with 42 goals, the most of any midfielder in the OAC, while earning All-Conference Honorable Mention recognition. Stowell spent the summer training and set his sights on having an even bigger impact the following season. As a second year captain in his sophomore season, Chad used his leadership position to get his team involved with Lacrosse Mustache Madness, a fundraiser supporting the HEADstrong Foundation. Stowell was always taken with the organization’s mission and commitment to serving families overcome by cancer, but he never expected to be in need of HEADstrong’s services. Just a few short months after finishing the fundraising campaign, the unthinkable happened.
The abrupt ending of the spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced students home with classes ensuing virtually. Chad returned to Minnesota and began his online classes when he started getting headaches and having vision problems. He initially thought that the issues were due to the increase in screen time necessary to complete his classes, but the symptoms did not subside when the school year ended. Chad went to get his vision checked, and without any telling results, the Stowell family opted for an MRI.
On April 27th, Chad was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma, an extremely rare cancer. The diagnosis was a shock to Stowell, but he was comforted in knowing that he had access to world-class oncologists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Ever the leader, Chad was most worried about his family and his teammates.
Surgery was scheduled for June and during a Zoom meeting with the coaching staff, Chad shared the news of his cancer. Together they devised a plan to share Chad’s diagnosis with the rest of the team. Upon learning of Chad’s diagnosis, Marietta Coach Shawn Runyon confided in the HEADstrong Foundation.
“We immediately sprang into action providing guidance, mentorship, resources and support to the Stowell’s and the Marietta Lacrosse family,” said Pat Colleluori, HEADstrong CDO & Nick’s Brother.
Chad underwent a successful surgery as well as an eight-week recovery period and is now preparing to undergo necessary treatment to ensure his cancer is eradicated. While Chad has a long road ahead of him, he is optimistic and hopeful to return to Marietta College and the playing field. He has taken a leave of absence from Marietta this fall to focus on his health and wellbeing. On top of the emotional and physical strain, the costs associated with medical treatments can be astronomical. To keep Chad positive and engaged during his treatment, he will be working with HEADstrong through Lacrosse Mustache Madness and has been named one of the beneficiaries of this year’s campaign to alleviate incurred expenses.
“Never in a million years did I think that I would have cancer and be in need of the services that I was helping to fund less than one year ago through Lacrosse Mustache Madness. HEADstrong is playing a very important position and is providing me with guidance, mentorship, they’ve introduced me to peers navigating cancer and are aiding us financially. HEADstrong is a true partner in my fight and together we will be victorious,” said Chad Stowell.
The HEADstrong Foundation and Marietta College are igniting the philanthropic spirit of collegiate men’s lacrosse programs and encourage every program to join Lacrosse Mustache Madness to aid Chad and heroes navigating the fight against cancer.
“While necessary decisions are altering the fall semester, one certain is that facial hair will continue to GROW and we need it! There may not be competition on the field, Lacrosse Mustache Madness provides an incredible way for teams to compete against one another while helping families overcome cancer. We look forward to having your program involved this October and look forward to seeing a record number of teams going head-to-head against in support of the cause this fall,” said Colleluori.
Teams can REGISTER and learn more about the campaign at www.LaxStacheMadness.com.
Learn more about how you can use your mustache and facial hair to improve lives affected by cancer at www.LaxStacheMadness.com or www.HEADstrong.org and follow the campaign @LaxStacheMadness @HEADstrongFND