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Cancer is one of the scariest words you can hear. Cancer doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, race, wealth, or religion. It doesn’t care. It can get you.
Some win their battle, some don't, but the scars it leaves physically and emotionally always reminds you of its relentlessness. Everyone who is reading this probably knows somebody who's been affected by Cancer or battled it themselves. It is horrible.
The first time I witnessed Cancer was in 1st grade. My friend had it. He kept missing school, we didn't understand, and at that point, no one explained it to us.
When he finally came back to school, he was bald, and he told us what was going on. Chemotherapy had taken his hair and was fighting the disease in his body. He was a jokester and very funny. So funny that when he was feeling ill, he decided to vomit on our other friend and me. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled, but he was. He was laughing and thought it was great.
Not long after, he lost his battle.
We were kids, and we lost a classmate and friend to Cancer. That sort of thing sticks with you. I see his two younger brothers occasionally. They are grown men, and very funny just like their brother. One of them worked for me a while.
As the years pass, and as I get older I realize Cancer doesn’t relent. A friend's mom, or brother, or sister doesn't win the battle countless others fight and win.
This isn’t special to me, everyone has these stories to tell. It will be five years this January since my father passed away from Cancer. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, he was the best man at my wedding. He was a father of five and the husband to my mom for 50 years.
My son was 11 at the time, it hit him pretty hard. We had just left his lacrosse practice when we found out. My brother and friends immediately went out to have a couple drinks and toast his life. I met them with my son. They all told him stories of his Papa, which he still talks about today. My Mother also had Cancer, she survived, thank God, but not without some battles scars. Then earlier this year, my older sister by two years was diagnosed with Brain Cancer.
My son openly swore to say how he hates Cancer and my daughter just wanted to make sure Aunt Beth would be OK. My sister had brain surgery and is undergoing radiation and chemo. She is the mother of two young children. If you could put someone on a pedestal for being a hero in the face of adversity, it would be her. She never said why me, and never felt sorry for herself. She faced this with grace and incredible strength, she felt bad for other people who felt bad for her.
I'm ashamed thinking that I could never do that if I were in her situation. She has written a blog chronicling her entire journey. It is incredible, it can inspire you one minute make you cry the next. She is awesome.
This attack of Cancer in my family has made my son want to be a doctor. Whether it's a surgeon, pathologist, radiologist or oncologist, he isn’t sure what and as a high school sophomore he will have time to figure out. He hopes he’s good enough at his studies and lacrosse to get him to a fantastic school to make his journey to becoming a doctor a reality. His goal is to go to Tufts, which is a great goal, and I hope he reaches it.
But why am I talking about Cancer as a lacrosse writer?
LaxRecords, Inc. (NFP) is teaming up with the HEADstrong Foundation to help families cover costs associated with fighting Cancer.
HEADstrong Foundation was started by Nick “Head” Colleluori. He played lacrosse at Hofstra University and at the end of his Freshman year was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma — a blood Cancer affecting the Lymphatic system.
Shortly after being diagnosed he saw the lack of resources for Cancer patients and their families. From his hospital bed, he created the HEADstrong Foundation to raise awareness and funds for Cancer by empowering athletes to support his mission.
You can read Nick's whole story on headstrong.org.
One thing that stands out is that before he passed away, he asked his Mom to take the foundation where it needed to go — to not question anything. That the lacrosse family was his brotherhood and they wouldn’t turn their backs on her.
I want to help out in any way possible, I want the lacrosse community to help out, be the brotherhood that won't turn their backs on his last wish.
LaxRecords.com is helping by asking players to pledge their stats from the 2019 season. Whether it's goals, assists, points, saves, ground balls or faceoffs won — whatever metric you use. Get people to pledge a certain amount of money per point. Like $1 per goal or save.
I know my son is going to do it and try and get all of his teammates involved. Not to mention other schools. His idea is to get his whole team to buy HEADstrong lime green laces. I want to see by the end of the season every pair of cleats with lime green laces.
What could be a better tribute to Nick for thinking of others on his last days?
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and Happy New Year. Can't wait for the season to get started.
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