December 1st Update: Thanks to everyone who participated, the Saint Leo men's lacrosse team surpassed their goal of $1,000 raised and finished November with $1,121! A tremendous success in helping to benefit the HEADstrong Foundation and their fight against blood cancer.
Now it's time to shave!
SAINT LEO, Fla. - The Lions fitness center looks a little different this year; in fact, so does the lacrosse field. Although constructive changes are being made across Saint Leo University’s campus, this recent change is somewhat different in nature. Instead of construction, the Saint Leo Men’s Lacrosse team has made the transition from looking like a well-groomed team of young men, to men with full mustaches and beards. The purpose? Lions Lacrosse players are participating in the HEADstrong Foundation's Lacrosse Mustache Madness, a fundraiser to help benefit blood cancer research.
The HEADstrong Foundation was founded in 2005, when Hofstra University Men’s Lacrosse player Nicholas Colleluori was diagnosed with a type of aggressive blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. While undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, and the other various treatments needed in order to beat such a forceful disease, Colleluori decided to create a foundation that would benefit those affected by blood cancer. Because of his love for his team and brotherhood at Hofstra, Colleluori chose to use the lacrosse community as an outlet for his story. Apparently, it’s working.
In keeping with its Catholic tradition, Saint Leo University prides itself on its Benedictine core values; the words community, responsible stewardship, integrity, respect, and personal development are displayed numerous times across campus. As they actively attempt to exemplify such values, the men’s lacrosse team has certainly gotten crafty. Handlebar mustaches, goatees, pencil mustaches, horseshoes, and everything in between can be seen around Saint Leo as a promotion for the fundraiser, at least until the end of November. Although the mustache growing is all in good fun, the Lions know that the fundraiser is serious. The goal is to raise $1,000 for cancer research during the month of November; a goal that Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Brad Jorgensen feels is easily attainable. Why? The fundraiser was his players’ idea. In fact, the fundraiser is being done thanks to midfielder Robert “Bobby” Hutchinson. “I'm just really proud that Bobby initiated this on his own,” says Jorgensen. “It validates a lot of what we are trying to teach our guys when they spearhead projects like this without any prompting from the staff.”
Despite Saint Leo’s small numbers, students and faculty have shown that they can do big things. Fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, supporting local breast cancer walks, donating to Catholic Charities, participating in various types of community service, and now raising money to benefit the HEADstrong Foundation are all service projects that Lions athletes have been part of in the 2011 fall semester alone. Among the Athletic Department, community service is competitive, and each team contributes in their own way. It is often said that coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. They may be small, but they are truly a mighty pride of Lions.
To donate, please click on the link.
Story written by softball junior Katie Gwinn.