Remembering Will Barrow: Pomper Raises Money for HELP

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - When former Virginia lacrosse standout Will Barrow died in November of 2008, former teammate and close friend Max Pomper (Huntington, N.Y.) started an initiative that will come to fruition Saturday at UVa's Lambeth Field. The fund-raising event "Remembering Will Barrow" is a flag football tournament, featuring area college lacrosse teams, with all proceeds going to HELP, UVa's non-profit, student-run crisis hotline. Play is scheduled to start at noon.

HELP Line is an anonymous, confidential telephone service serving the residents of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia. It is affiliated with UVa's Madison House. HELP strives to provide callers with an empathetic ear for any sort of issue they wish to discuss and on finding long-term services in the community for callers, such as counseling services, medical services or drug treatment programs.

The college lacrosse community has rallied around Pomper's initiative. Programs from Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington & Lee will participate in the tournament. Cavalier lacrosse alumni, UVa fraternities and sororities, as well as friends and family of Will Barrow, will be represented in the 20 teams currently scheduled to compete.

"The hotline has been underfunded for 17 years with no sponsorships," said Pomper, a senior on the 2010 Virginia men's lacrosse team. "We want to honor our friend Will Barrow and spread awareness of suicide prevention. With the HELP hotline, there is an outlet for people in need in times of crisis around UVa and the Charlottesville area. This is something we wish Will would have known about."

Pomper cites Barrow, who hailed from Baldwin, N.Y., as a big reason he continued his lacrosse career with the Cavaliers.

"We grew up together in neighboring towns on Long Island," said Pomper. "Our fathers are great friends and would drive to games together. My favorite memories at UVa, whether we were on the field or off, are with Will. That is why I want to do what I can to use Will's passing as a positive in helping others dealing with crisis."

When he died, Barrow was enrolled at the University and taking final courses needed to earn his undergraduate degree in sociology. He completed his athletic eligibility following the 2008 season.

As a fourth-year player in 2008, Barrow was a captain of a squad that advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. He was considered one of the top defensive midfielders in the country throughout his career. During his senior season, he finished with a career-high 28 ground balls, while scoring seven goals and adding three assists. Following the season he was selected in the second round of the Major League Lacrosse draft by the Chicago Machine and appeared in five games during his rookie year. He appeared in 63 games during his UVa career and scored 18 goals with seven assists. Barrow also was a member of the Cavaliers' 2006 NCAA Champion team.

More than 300 people are expected to participate in the event, which includes a barbeque and prize raffle. Former UVa football standout and current Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, a friend of Barrow, has donated signed Dallas Cowboys footballs. The Duke lacrosse team will have basketballs signed by Blue Devils' basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski as raffle gifts.

"As we approach the first anniversary of Will's passing, Max's idea for this tournament and the work of his teammates has helped bring a difficult moment into focus," said Virginia head men's lacrosse coach Dom Starsia. "It is certainly appropriate that the HELP hotline be the beneficiary of this effort. It has been very gratifying to see the larger lacrosse community respond in such an enthusiastic and positive manner. Will is still very close to us all and it is helpful to have some good arise from this situation. In Will's memory, I hope this event will help someone else in crisis."

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2009-11-04



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