Colonials Team up to Battle Huntington's Disease

Moon Township, Pa. - For seven years, Robert Morris has hosted the Hope for the Cure Tournament, an annual youth lacrosse event to benefit a variety of charities throughout the years. This season, the Colonials again took aim at Huntington's Disease; a neurological disease near and dear to the RMU program.

Head Coach Katy Phillips' mother, Marian Phillips, was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease nearly 5 years ago. The family was unaware that HD existed in the family line, and was thus shocked by the diagnosis. Marian is in the late stages of HD and at 66 is currently living in a full care nursing facility. Children of those with HD have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the disease. Coach Phillips personally has chosen not to be tested, but has spent much of her time working to not only fundraise for the cause, but educate people on this underserved population.

Huntington's Disease, also known as HD, is an inherited progressively degenerative brain disorder. Typically symptoms appear between age 30 and 50. Over a 10-25 year period the ability to think, speak, and walk are greatly diminished. There is currently no cure for HD. The Huntington's Disease Society of America: Western Pennsylvania Chapter is the local branch in which Coach Phillips is an avid member. This chapter's primary focus is to promote and support research to find a cure, help those affected by the disease, and educate the public and health care professionals about HD.

For the past six years, Robert Morris Women's Lacrosse has hosted the Colonial Classic, Hope for the Cure 7v7 Tournament during the month of October. The first three years in existence the tournament was run with hopes of raising funds for The Glimmer of Hope organization. Glimmer of Hope is a local organization raising money and awareness for breast cancer. During these past three years the Colonial Classic tournament has put the emphasis on Huntington's Disease, a cause that personally affects Coach Phillips.

On the support that the game of lacrosse has given her, Coach Phillips stated, "Since my mother's diagnosis, I have become passionate in increasing awareness of HD! I am so thankful to have the support of the local lacrosse community and RMU in helping me to achieve this goal!"

The past three years of the Colonial Classic Hope for the Cure tournament has raised $13,000 for HD. The first year brought in roughly $1,000, with the second year doubling that at $2,000. Coach Phillips set the bar at a $10,000 donation in the beginning of the fall and was only interested in meeting or exceeding that amount. Between the tournament and other fall activities the $10,000 goal was met!


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