Team HEADstrong Raises $10k through Masters Lacrosse Team
By Nora Pergolini
(PHILADELPHIA) – Nick Colleluori’s mission was simple: whatever your platform may be, use it to better the lives of others. While this mission is simple, it is powerful and it inspired the idea of Team HEADstrong, an all-inclusive campaign that aims to encourage everyone to use their unique platform to get involved and get active in the name of Nick and the HEADstrong Foundation. Whether it is a casual hobby or a lifelong passion, members of Team HEADstrong pledge to use their activity as a vehicle for collecting donations from generous donors within their network. The beauty of Team HEADstrong is that the possibilities for participation are limitless. You simply choose the activity that you enjoy doing and do it in the name of HEADstrong. Whether you bike, run, swim, lift, or participate in any other wide variety of activities, you can do so to improve the lives of those battling cancer by joining the vast community that is Team HEADstrong.
For one group of passionate former lacrosse players, participating in the Over-40 Division of the renowned Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament seemed like the perfect opportunity to get involved with Team HEADstrong. So, in August 2019, the group of former lacrosse players headed up to Lake Placid to participate in the tournament under the HEADstrong Foundation banner. Leading up to the tournament, the team members fundraised over $15,000. After a successful and enjoyable experience, the group could not wait to return to Lake Placid in 2020 and participate once again. However, they were disappointed when the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the cancellation, the players still had the desire to continue playing in the spirit of Team HEADstrong, so they jumped at the opportunity to participate in the Chesapeake Cup this month. The tournament, run by the Maryland Lacrosse League, took place on October 3rd at Cedar Lane Regional Park in Bel Air, Maryland.
The team was made up of many players from the original team that traveled to Lake Placid in 2019, as well as some new additions. It was an impressive collection of former collegiate lacrosse players and a few current coaches from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and New York. Dave Stilley, a two-time All-American defenseman at Duke and retired Major League Lacrosse player joined the team as a new addition. Peter Lawrence, Executive VP of Boys Lacrosse at NXT Sports and two-time All American during his time at Roanoke College in the late ‘90s was added to the roster as well.
The team even featured HEADstrong’s own Pat Colleluori, who had not participated in a lacrosse tournament prior to the event. As a coach, long time fan, and as a spectator in 2019 at Lake Placid, he made a promise to himself that he would get in shape to play with the team in 2020.
Marymount University was also well-represented in this group. Current Men’s Lacrosse Coach and Marymount alumnus, Jon Reynolds, joined the roster and encouraged some of his former Marymount teammates to join as well.
Team HEADstrong stood out on the field, wearing shirts that featured the classic HEADstrong lime green with the message, “Sticking it to Cancer” emblazoned across the front. The experience was meaningful for these players, as many of their lives have been personally affected by cancer. For Jon Reynolds, his inspiration to join Team HEADstrong came from his Grandma Lou, whom he lost to breast cancer when he was a teenager. As a longtime supporter of the HEADstrong Foundation, Jon remarked, “In coming to learn of Nick’s story and the cause there was no question that I wanted to get involved. In 16 years as the head coach we have participated in so many events HEADstrong has put on that I have lost count. Year after year the story may change in regards to what HEADstrong is looking to put their energy behind but the meaning behind why we get involved does not. Every opportunity I get to coach I thank god for having someone as influential as my grandma Lou (Luverne) in my life.”
While COVID-19 altered the team’s plans for Lake Placid, they took their talents to Maryland and worked together to raise over $10,000 for the HEADstrong foundation in the process. And come this August, you can bet that Team HEADstrong will be ready to dominate in Lake Placid.
You can view photos from the event on the HEADstrong Facebook page by clicking here.
If you would like to bring your talents to Team HEADstrong and make a difference in the lives of those battling cancer, either individually or as a team, visit our website at HEADstrong.org/fundraise or contact Jeff Baxter at [email protected].