The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

W&L men’s lacrosse raises funds for families impacted by cancer

Generals and Keydets Lacrosse united to put their love for the game toward the HEADStrong Foundation
Hannah Shiffert
W&L faces off against VMI at Drill field 2 Sunday Oct. 29 for the Mustache Madness scrimmages.

The Virginia Military Institute men’s lacrosse program hosted its second annual Fall HEADstrong Tournament to raise money to support those impacted by cancer. The Keydets welcomed the Generals and Hood University on Oct. 29 for a three-way scrimmage day.

Lacrosse is one thing that unites these players, but this past weekend they played for something larger and more meaningful than the love they share for their sport.

The HEADstrong Foundation was founded in 2006 by Nicholas “Head” Colleluori who played Division I lacrosse at Hofstra University. Nick was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the midst of his freshman season back in 2005. He passed away in 2006 but his foundation lives on.

HEADstrong is an organization that offers financial, residential, and emotional support to families impacted by cancer. The Philadelphia-based foundation works relentlessly to provide resources for patients and their families who are receiving specialized cancer care throughout the country.

The foundation has sponsored numerous lacrosse tournaments and held various campaigns for over 10 years. The foundation has raised over $24 million and reached over 23,000 families facing the effects of cancer.

The Generals men’s lacrosse team has participated in this tournament for the past two years. Head coach Gene McCabe credits Virginia Military Institute’s lacrosse coach, James Purpura, for getting the program going.

“Cancer impacts everyone’s life in some way,” McCabe said. “All of us connect with the cause and are inspired to support the mission.”

The Generals compete in a HEADstrong fundraising campaign called Mustache Madness motivating players to grow out their mustaches. The mustache growth signifies their support for families affected by cancer. The players also individually fundraise for the campaign.

“I am so proud that our team is a part of this campaign,” McCabe said. “This foundation gives the competitive moment more meaning and our commitment to lacrosse far more value.”

The campaign sparked from Colleluori’s decision to toss his razor out and grow a mustache in the final weeks of his life to take away from his apparent weight loss and declining physical appearance due to his treatments.

Mustache Madness is an online fundraiser encouraging student-athletes to toss their razors, grow their mustaches, and go head-to-head against other collegiate teams from across the country in an effort to raise money to help families.

The 2023 Mustache Madness campaign goal was to raise enough money to fund a month’s worth of stay for families displaced in pursuit of cancer treatment.

The Generals had one of the top Mustache Madness fundraising growers in the nation, Nick Lipsher, ’24.

“We are doing something for a much bigger cause than ourselves,” Lipsher said. “I hope we continue to fundraise for this foundation for many years to come.”

Lipsher raised a whopping $1,961 for the foundation.

“My fundraising process has remained the same throughout my years,” Lipsher said. “I try to reach out to as many people as possible by posting about the campaign on my social media. The more people who know about this campaign, the bigger impact we can make.”

Byron Newman, ’26, was their campaign’s second highest raiser, receiving $330 to go toward the foundation.

McCabe said last weekend’s tournament at VMI was an opportunity to compete at a high level against Division I teams, but more importantly to play a part in something far greater than the sum of the team.

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