The men’s lacrosse and women’s soccer and field hockey programs continue major fundraising efforts for charitable organizations. Through alumni and family outreach and invitations to games and events, each team is able to both raise money for their sport and for cancer research and cancer patients.
The field hockey team hosted their annual Pancreatic Cancer Awareness game on Sunday, Sept. 23, as both teams wore purple tee shirts during warm-ups in support of the foundation. The connection to the organization is personal, as head coach Jennifer Stone’s father passed away from cancer eight years ago. Junior midfielder Cameron Costello explained that it was Stone’s father’s passing that kickstarted the annual fundraising efforts.
The team was able to raise $1,600 in just a week’s time, according to Costello, and even involve some of the other teams’ players in the cause.
“[The other players] are super supportive, happy to take pictures, and wear the t-shirts,” Costello said. “You see how much people are impacted by the organization.”
Costello mentioned the Lafayette-Lehigh football game and the annual giving day on March 9 stand out as other major sources of fundraising for the field hockey team as well.
The men’s lacrosse team has continued their ongoing work with the Headstrong foundation this fall, helping to bring together cancer victims in the broader lacrosse community. The organization strives to improve the quality of life for those affected by cancer, and was founded by former college lacrosse player Nick Colleluori, who passed away in 2006 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Colleluori created the Headstrong foundation from his hospital bed.
Senior defenseman Zach Merle described how the team has been using online resources in order to reach as many people as possible.
“Getting [the message] out on social media is absolutely effective in the world we live in today,” he said. “Last year we were able to raise over $5,000 for this event, and we’re definitely trying to top our number from last year.”
The team has raised $3,356 as of Wednesday, Sept. 26, according to the pledge.headstrong.org, the team’s fundraising page, with plenty of time left to surpass last years’ total.
“We have such a fantastic opportunity with a large team that is connected with the community,” Merle added. “We can take sports, which is what we do every day, and use that for change. That’s why we do this.”
On the women’s soccer team, junior forward Alexa Buffa’s family started the Go4TheGoal foundation, which the team supports. The charitable institution was founded in 2006 by her aunt and raises money for pediatric cancer research and special projects to help children affected by the disease. It all started when Alexa’s cousin, Richard Stefanacci, passed away from a rare bone cancer just months before his 15th birthday. Two years later, Buffa’s younger sister, Blake, was diagnosed with a rare form of soft tissue cancer.
“Blake bravely fought her cancer and is now a 7-year survivor enjoying all the normal thrills of being a teenage girl,” says the Go4theGoal website.
Alexa spoke of the personal importance of working with the organization, describing how it has always been special to her family.
“[Go4TheGoal] is really close to my heart,” she said. “I’ve grown up doing fundraising and charity work with them my entire life. It’s always been an important part of what I do.”
Buffa credits the coaching staff and her teammates for giving her so much support and encouragement throughout her time on the team. In addition to the widespread support, the fundraising the team has accomplished has been remarkable, raising $4,741 in the month of September alone, according their donation page. To Alexa, the most important part is simply having an impact.
“I really like knowing that I’m able to make a difference for those kids,” she said. “I know how much it helps having people support you.”