Towson MLax Takes the Fight to Cancer

TOWSON, Md. While the spring season is reserved for the fight to the NCAA Tournament, the Towson University men's lacrosse teams spends its fall in another sort of fight: the one against cancer.

Once again this fall, the Tigers have been heavily involved in several initiatives to help aide cancer research and support organizations. From late September through Thanksgiving, the Tigers do all they can to help the following organizations: The ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk, which was held at Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium, the Susan G. Komen Maryland Race for the Cure and the HEADstrong Foundation's Mustache Madness.

"It's exciting to have our guys so committed to helping others in need in various ways. We are very fortunate as a lacrosse program and individuals with our health and resources," said sixth-year head coach Shawn Nadelen. "We understand there are many people fighting through illness and adverse situations, so we want to do all that we can to help them conquer what they are battling with. We have manpower and a large network to reach out to, so whether it is through volunteering time or raising funds for research and assistance, Towson lacrosse is passionate to support these causes."

On Sunday Sept. 25, the Tigers formally kicked off their fall cancer-fighting campaigns with the ZERO Prostate Run/Walk. It was an early start to the day as 18 Towson student-athletes and staff members took off from the start line at 8:30 a.m.

Before the sun came up on October 23, nearly 50 members of the program arrived at the Hunt Valley Towne Center and checked in for the Komen Maryland Race for the Cure. The team raised nearly $5,000 towards the cause as student-athletes, coaches and support staff navigated the five-kilometer course in northern Baltimore County. The team's biggest fundraiser for the event was junior faceoff specialist Steven Stillwell, who brought in nearly $3,000 towards Komen Maryland.

"My mom passed away from breast cancer when I was about 8 or 9 years old, I was in third grade. I want to help the cause and help further research anyway I can," said Stillwell of his personal fundraising efforts. "My teammates have been very supportive. They've were also a part of the fundraising effort and everyone showed up to be in the 5K, so it was good to see the support.

The Race for the Cure has a personal meaning to the program as well. Under the name "Pink Paws" the Tigers dedicate their Race for the Cure each season to Bobbi Madison, Towson's late director of academic services for student-athletes, who worked closely with the program for over 10 years before passing away after a long, brave fight with breast cancer in January 2015.

The team's final fundraising push of the year is the Lacrosse Mustache Madness campaign, which benefits the HEADstrong Foundation. Players grow out their mustaches to help bring awareness towards HEADstrong, an organization that helps support families and children battling cancer. To date, Towson has raised over $7,300 since Oct. 19, paced by sophomore middie Nick DelBene, who has raised over $1,400 himself. The Long Island native is ranked sixth in this year's campaign, helping Towson sit in fourth place out of nearly 60 fundraising teams.

"I've had some family members in the past that have been affected by cancer. Two in particular; one of my cousins passed away, and my grandpa before I was born had lung and throat cancer. He passed away from it," said DelBene of his motivation in the fight against cancer. "I have friends back home whose families have been affected by it, so it's a great thing to bring awareness to and help raise money."

As November wears on, the Tigers will continue to wear mustaches and help raise money for the HEADstrong Foundation. The formal Lax Mustache Madness campaign ends on Nov. 28, the date founder and Hofstra University men's lacrosse player Nick Colleluori passed away. The team's campaign page can be found on LaxMustacheMadness.com or tinyurl.com/TigerStache16.

2016-11-09



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