By: Casey Dennis
Dickinson men's lacrosse raised $8,726 to support the HEADstrong Foundation in April's USILA/HEADstrong Awareness month, reaching the highest fundraising total of any program involved in the national campaign.
The HEADstrong Foundation partners with sports teams and volunteers, as a 501(c)3 committed to improving lives affected by cancer. HEADstrong provides direct financial assistance, family lodging, inpatient accommodations, and peer support for those affected by cancer. The organization donates 90 cents of every dollar raised, and has helped almost 15,000 cancer patients.
The mission of the organization is "to uphold, preserve and expand the vision and final request of HEADstrong founder Nicholas "HEAD" Colleluori, that others would benefit from his life and experience through cancer." Colleluori was a men's lacrosse student-athlete at Hofstra University, who was terminally diagnosed with cancer entering his sophomore year. His activism, vision, and legacy lives on through those who benefit from HEADstrong's resources.
Dickinson's involvement was close to the Red Devil men's lacrosse family because one of the program's own, former attackman Tyler Llewellyn '17 is currently battling cancer. The Dickinson men's lacrosse program emphasizes the importance of teamwork and family, and have rallied to provide their HEADstrong donations in honor of Llewellyn.
Senior defenseman Pat Finnernan and senior attackman Tucker Carney were named to the inaugural All-Headstrong Team for their efforts.
Senior attackman Tyler Strods, head coach Dave Webster, and Pat Colleluori of the HEADstrong Foundation offered their insight on why this result for Dickinson, and relationship rooted in activism and lacrosse is so impactful.
"The HEADstrong foundation acts as a great connection for the entire lacrosse community to give back and support those battling cancer. HEADstrong took on a whole new meaning to Dickinson Lacrosse when our former friend and teammate Tyler Llewellyn was diagnosed. HEADstrong provides our program with the opportunity to support our Dickinson Lacrosse family and also use the power of that family to provide for those in need. We hope to make a difference in as many lives as possible through our fundraising efforts. In addition, we would like to spread awareness of the HEADstrong foundation's initiative and share the inspiring legacy of Nick Colleluori. Additionally, we want to continue to raise the bar for how colleges and athletic programs approach cancer fundraising."
Tyler Strods '18, senior attackman
"The last couple of years we have gotten involved with this effort. We have raised some funds and we wear lime green laces in our cleats for one game to show support for HEADstrong. Each team has so much potential to impact community and to make a difference. It should be the responsibility of every leader and of every group to champion some cause. We would welcome the support of other Dickinsonians. We are proud to have earned the top spot in the April challenge."
Dave Webster '88, Dickinson men's lacrosse head coach
"The relationship with Dickinson Lacrosse and Coach Webster is very special and we hold it close to our hearts. We feel that the connectivity to our Nick's journey as a collegiate student-athlete facing a terminal cancer diagnosis has truly resonated with the Dickinson team alongside of their strong belief in HEADstrong's mission and tireless efforts on behalf of families overcome by cancer. HEADstrong serves as a source of inspiration that has unified the Dickinson Lacrosse family. Coach Webster has fostered an amazing culture built on character, selflessness and giving unconditionally to others. The HEADstrong mission certainly aligns with his beliefs and that of his team. This is reinforced and carried on through the Dickinson staff, players, alumni and families. Seeing the outcry of support from the Dickinson athletic community has been incredibly humbling and we are so grateful. The DIII culture is steeped in service and making a difference. The efforts our Dickinson this year emulate that of our Nick. Nick stood just 5'10" and weighed 165 pounds, but despite a short stature, he rose above adversity, and was a game -hanger who legacy will never be forgotten. We are truly proud to call Dickinson Men's Lacrosse a partner in the fight against cancer."
Pat Colleluori, Chief Marketing Officer and Nick's Brother – HEADstrong Foundation