Cal Lacrosse Claims Red Cross Heroes Award

OAKLAND, Calif. - The California lacrosse team accepted its Act of Kindness and Philanthropy Hero award at the Alameda County Heroes Breakfast held at the Hilton Oakland Airport Hotel on Thursday morning. Created by the American Red Cross, the award honored the Golden Bears for their courage in supporting former teammate Tighe Hutchins when a life-threatening illness struck her last fall.

The Cal contingent at the breakfast included Hutchins, head coach Theresa Sherry, assistant coaches Nikki Lieb and Meredith Simon, seniors Emily Abbood and Chapin Jackson, sophomores Ana Cyr and Melissa Humphrey, and freshman Teresa Li. The Bears were among several East Bay heroes honored today by the Red Cross.

"It was really exciting to see them recognized for all of their efforts," Sherry said, "including the blood drive and everything they did to support their friend. Their support of Tighe went beyond the physical things we could do for her. It was special to see them recognized for everything they went through and everything they overcame.

"What was really neat coming out of that experience was that all of us had a raised experience of how important it is to donate blood. There really are shortages and it happens on a daily basis, and the amount of units that she needed to survive was extraordinary, from my understanding. That was educational for all of us and for all of the young women as well."

Last October, Hutchins became deathly ill and needed a number of surgeries to survive. The medical staff at Alta Bates Hospital did a phenomenal job of saving her life, and her teammates mobilized a giant blood drive for a local Blood Bank in order to help replenish the blood supplies that Hutchins' surgeries were draining. The Golden Bears were able to rally the Cal community, the Bay Area community and communities all over the country through their athletic, religious and personal connections. Hutchins fought hard to recover, which she did, thanks in part to her teammates and the Cal and lacrosse communities.

Cal opens the 2011 season against Notre Dame on Feb. 11 in Berkeley.


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