(PHILADELPHIA, PA) Goals, assists, face-offs, draws, ground balls and saves are just a few of the statistics that athletes are using to help families overcome by cancer this season. Go Lime For Cancer™ is a digital fundraising campaign in support of the HEADstrong Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to improving lives affected by the disease that was founded by former Hofstra lacrosse player Nicholas Colleluori.
The campaign empowers student-athletes to utilize performance based statistics as a mechanism for soliciting recurring donations in support for the cause. The campaign is targeted to scholastic student-athletes, allowing them to fulfill community service requirements for merit awards, scholarships and or qualification prerequisites for the National Honor Society. It is also a helpful tool to assist coaches to build team chemistry while promoting the complete holistic student-athlete. Click here to GO LIME.
Like many student-athletes, cancer hit close to home for Anthony Todaro, a lacrosse player from Weddington High School in Matthews, North Carolina. “I’ve lost numerous family members to cancer,” Todaro said. “My Aunt Marie to breast cancer, my Uncle Tommy to colon cancer, my maternal grandfather, who I never got to meet, died a couple years before I was born from stomach cancer … I didn’t want to pass up this opportunity (to give back). So many kids are not blessed and fortunate enough to be able to play this sport the way I am, so it’s a motivator for me to give back in any way that I can.”
Last season Todaro set the bar and the example for athletes across the country by pledging his sophomore season. Now a returning Junior and a DI commit Todaro is ready to challenge his peers nationwide. Last February, Todaro and his father, John, were watching a televised game in support of the HEADstrong Foundation and learned of the opportunity for athletes to launch third-party fundraising campaigns. Instantly, Anthony’s ears perked up. “I looked at my dad right away and told him how it would be a great way to give back playing my favorite sport,” Anthony said. “He told me, ‘Dad, this is something I want to do,’” John Todaro recalled. “He hounded me about it the rest of that Saturday and all day Sunday to visit the site and start the fundraising page. It was a fantastic experience, and Anthony got so much out of it — if not more — than the HEADstrong Foundation. Not only was he able to raise money and do the right thing, but it was a tremendous experience for him as a young man.”
Donors either pledged a flat dollar amount to Anthony’s campaign, or donated on a per-point basis based off his statistics on the lacrosse field. When all was said and done, Anthony tallied 114 points on the season, raising $1,800; in his final opportunity in the state championship game, Anthony posted 11 points, which matched his season high for most in a game. He was named MVP of the game, in addition to being selected first-team all conference and picking up Weddington’s Male Humanitarian Athlete of the Year award.
This past fall while traveling to Philadelphia for a lacrosse tournament, Anthony and his mother had the opportunity to visit Nick’s House, a guest family home operated by the HEADstrong Foundation for families in the pursuit of lifesaving cancer treatment. The visit really helped him to grasp his impact through the game.
Most recently, Todaro accepted an opportunity to further his academic and athletic career as a member of the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team. Now just a few weeks away from the start of his junior season, Todaro is at it again, this time challenging lacrosse players from across the country to join the campaign and the cause.
While he never got a chance to meet HEADstrong founder, former Hofstra lacrosse player Nick Colleluori, who passed away from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006, Anthony feels Nick’s spirit everywhere he goes, on and off the lacrosse field, a fact accentuated by the lime green HEADstrong wristband that adorns his wrist at all times.
“I’ve never taken the wristband off,” he said. “Even during games, I’ll look down and see it under my glove, and it motivates me. You realize that it’s about so much more than just lacrosse. It’s about life and philanthropy, not just yourself and how you’re feeling. It reminds me that there’s so much more than others are going through that I don’t even know about, so it teaches me to be selfless, try to help others and just be the best person I can be. If someone is going through something, you should try and help them, because I know I’d want someone to help me if I was going through the same ordeal.
The HEADstrong Foundation (www.HEADstrong.org) is a non-profit organization committed to improving lives affected by cancer. HEADstrong was founded by Nicholas Colleluori, a Division I athlete entering his sophomore year at Hofstra University when he was terminally diagnosed with cancer. His public fight from the sidelines captivated the nation and from his hospital bed he created an organization focused on empowering student-athletes to improve lives affected by the disease. His vision was simple yet critical; helping real families when they needed it most, providing support so that families may live with a greater dignity and normalcy. Colleluori fought to improve the inpatient experience, the affordability and accessibility of care and tackled the general concerns facing the patient population.
Understanding the ripple effect and impact that a cancer diagnosis had on a family, Colleluori championed efforts to support caregivers and capital projects to improve accommodations. He built an awareness platform driven by lime green shoelaces, the national awareness color for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He empowered his own family and in the last days of his life asked them to pick up the ball where he left off. It’s a promise that the Colleluori family continues to fulfill through the essential programs and services offered by the HEADstrong Foundation, www.HEADstrong.org. HEADstrong invests more than $.90 of every dollar into a service offering 100% committed to improving the quality of life for families affected by cancer. HEADstrong grants financial assistance, funds projects to improve the inpatient experience, provides meals and outlets of entertainment, delivers comfort kits, peer support and most notably operates Nick’s House, a haven of comfort for families seeking comprehensive cancer care.