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Lacrosse helps in fight against cancer

The vibrant color of lime green was worn by both Eastern lacrosse players and their fans to show support for the fight against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the MAC game against King’s on Apr. 2.

Eastern’s goalie, sophomore Aaron Benz, can proudly call himself a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor. “I have been personally involved with HEADstrong through an advertisement and on a personal level, so it is really nice to see a continued support for HEADstrong from Eastern,” Benz said. “In the fall we participated in the HEADstrong fall ball tournament and raised a lot of money. This continued support of awareness really helps out HEADstrong and the fight against cancer.”

The HEADstrong Foundation was founded by Nicholas Colleluori in 2005. According to headstrongfoundation.org, “During Colleluori’s 14 month battle with this disease, undergoing intense chemotherapy, radiation, a stem cell transplant and experimental treatments, he was determined to start a foundation that would support the blood cancer community.” He drew up the logo, a lacrosse stick on its side with the breast cancer ribbon serving as the head, and picked the lime green, royal blue and gold colors to represent the foundation. Before his passing, he asked his family to promise to make his vision a reality. The promise was brought to life and has grown tremendously since then.

The HEADstrong game against King’s was played in honor of all of those who have battled blood cancer, but, more specifically, for four-year-old Trey Love. Love is from Phoenixville, Pa. who has a rare form of cancer. Eastern offered a halftime game to audience members accepting donations in exchange for attempts to score a goal from the half field line. All of the money collected went to Love and his family. There were tents set up at the game that provided the fans with information on the different causes that the Eastern game supported.

The mother of Eastern sophomore attacker Chris Farrar was present at the game to share her story on ways to help those with cancer. “My mom has been giving blood for years now,” Farrar said. “Last year she was a 1-in-7 million match for a women living in Washington. She successfully went through the procedure and saved the women’s life, who remains cancer-free to this day.”

“Just recently, my dad’s friend was diagnosed with a pre-leukemic type of cancer,” Farrar said. “There was a booth at the HEADstrong game, called ‘lifting Louie up,’ dedicated to him. He needs the same procedure my mom did. If he doesn’t get a match by mid-May, he will develop full blown leukemia. The booth my parents were running was to get people to sign up to become a donor.”

Head coach Brandon Childs says that Eastern lacrosse is trying to regularly coordinate with HEADstrong. “We played in a tournament in the fall that helped raise over a quarter million dollars for the foundation, and Benz will be in an ad campaign for the Foundation in May,” Childs said.

“I thought the HEADstrong event was a great idea. Having an actual survivor of cancer on our team (Benz) and close friend who personally battled cancer made it that much more meaningful,” Farrar said.

Eastern won the HEADstrong game 10-3. “Our goals are to win the MAC Conference Championship and have a team GPA of a 3.0 or higher,” Childs said. “My hopes are that our guys will learn how to become better men and have an impact on our community.”

Childs asks that everyone come out and support not only the team but the causes that the team supports.

Source: www.headstrongfoundation.org

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