Note: This press release came from Kelly Curtis, wife of Ryan Curtis, head coach at the University of Vermont.
In 2007, one of his players was diagnosed with testicular cancer and we watched the team come to grips with the reality that cancer can touch anyone at any age. That fall, we started a college lacrosse tournament called the “Northeast Classic – Face-Off Against Cancer” (formally known as the Catamount Classic) and donated the proceeds to cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The goal of the Northeast Classic is to inform as many young adults as possible about the importance of cancer screening and prevention.
In 2010, we started an Inspirational Families Program to help lacrosse families surviving cancer create fantastic memories. Last year we met Henry Fenollosa and his family. Henry is a patient of the Jimmy Fund in Boston and is the definition of inspirational. He was born a cancer fighter. He had treatment hours after his birth and as a result has paralysis in one of his legs. He doesn’t let that stop him from playing the game that he loves though, and he signed up for his first youth team this spring. The University of Vermont men’s lacrosse team met Henry and his family at last year’s Northeast Classic – Face-Off Against Cancer. Henry, his brother Leo and their father Josh stood on the sideline with the team during their scrimmages. The UVM players accepted the boys as members of the team from day one, and think it was their good luck that led them to a win over Sacred Heart this season. We set out to give this family some fantastic lacrosse memories, but we didn’t realize how much they would be giving back to the team. Henry doesn’t let anything stop him, and that is the perfect message to give to a college lacrosse team. The team cannot wait to see the boys this weekend and they will present Henry and Leo with their own team jerseys at halftime.
Vermont plays Hartford this Saturday in their last regular season conference game. The winner of this game could go on to the America East Tournament. Over the last six years, the University of Vermont men’s lacrosse team and the Hartford men’s lacrosse team have fundraised the most amount of money and donated it to the Northeast Classic. Both teams go above and beyond with team fundraising and we could not be more grateful. To date the Classic has donated nearly $155,000 to cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and we have handed out thousands of cancer screening and prevention packets all over New England. Colleges all over Vermont and New Hampshire are holding Northeast Classic tables for us each fall to help us spread the word.
For more information about our Inspirational Families Program you can visit – http://www.northeastclassic.org/inspirational_families_program.php
For more information about Henry and his family watch this video.
Photo courtesy Nick Mazur