Mountain Hawks’ Family Rallies Around the Fight Against Cancer
Creator: Justin Lafleur, Lehigh Sports Communications
Over the years, the Lehigh men’s lacrosse family has come together to fight cancer.
This year is no different, with the Mountain Hawks raising $ 12,638 as part of HEADstrong’s Lax Stache Madness. As explained on its website, Lax Stache Madness is an online interactive fundraiser that encourages student athletes to THROW their razors, GROW their mustaches, compete against teams across the country, and EARN money for HELP families.
“I’m incredibly proud of the team for their commitment to the Lax Stache Madness fundraiser,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “We are grateful for everyone who donated through our team page and our individual player pages. We believe in the mission of the Colleluori family and the HEADstrong organization and are pleased that we were able to contribute a small part to the overall success of this campaign. “
It’s a campaign that raised more than $ 612,000 (and more), surpassing its $ 600,000 goal. Lehigh ranks 13th in terms of revenue from more than 100 participating teams and 5th in Division I programs.
Quinn Armstrong, whose mother Bridget has been battling cancer for almost two years, is particularly hard hit.
“When summer came on my freshman year in Lehigh, she told my sisters and me what had been going on for a few months,” Quinn said. “It was definitely tough getting into my freshman year of college with news like this. It was pretty emotional, but she just wanted us to all enjoy our respective experiences.
“I don’t think we (none of the siblings) thought about it much when we were in school. When we answered, she always answered and she always sounded like herself, which was great. “
As good or bad as a given day was, she would make sure she was there for her children and everyone around them.
“My mom would make it look like she didn’t have cancer,” Quinn said. “It was more important to her how we felt than how it was. She could lie in bed all day, tired and without energy, but if one of us needs something or we call, she is immediately there to answer, and it is always there to be. ” our mother.”
Bridget’s initial diagnosis was colon cancer.
“She was in remission because of it, but we just found out last week that her liver was now affected by the cancer,” Quinn said. “But she’s fine. It’s pretty small. She’s going to struggle with that all her life.”
Much of Bridget’s treatment came from home, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She was able to do almost all of her treatments from the comfort of her home,” said Quinn. “She went in on a Monday, got all the IV, all that stuff, then came home and was in bed for the first few days – not the whole day. By the end of the week you could get out of bed, go downstairs and do some chores around the house. “
Cancer reminded the Armstrongs of the importance of taking one day at a time and enjoying every moment.
“It definitely brought our family a lot closer,” Quinn said. “We were pretty close, but news like [cancer] makes you think of family first. Not that everyone doesn’t already do that. But it also taught me not to take anything for granted. I’ve been a pretty happy kid all my life and it’s something that gives you an instant little reality check and makes you want to become the oldest sibling. “
At first, Quinn didn’t tell anyone in Lehigh about what his mother was going through.
“I kept it to myself,” said Quinn. “I didn’t want it to be an excuse and everyone to have check-ins every day. Because honestly I didn’t need that – I just wanted to focus on school and lacrosse so think about whether it was a ride or just hanging out with the guys.
“We are a big family.”
A few months later, Quinn decided to bring the news to his Lehigh family, starting with head coach Kevin Cassese.
“It was about the middle of the semester; I had to come home to see my family, ”Quinn said. “In the end, I told Coach the whole thing about my mother. He gave me great support. He was able to resonate with me through his own mother’s cancer experience. “
The Mountain Hawk family were there for Quinn’s family and the entire battle against cancer that affects so many people, directly or indirectly.
“When I have a tough day, I know that there are people who are unfortunately worse off,” he said. “It’s good to give something back. Our team [through HEADstrong’s Lax Stache Madness] Set a goal to raise $ 200 per person and everyone must sign up. It’s a great way to give back. “
Student athletes are competitive, and they face the situation by trying to beat their teammates and other programs across the country (in raising money).
“Every year I send an email to pretty much the same group of people. It’s a mix of really close family friends, relatives, and cousins,” Quinn said. “I’m just saying my team is doing a fundraiser for cancer, for families in need of money. It would be very grateful if you could donate a small amount. My personal goal is $ 200.”
Quinn exceeded that goal by far, raising $ 1,232 as of December 20th – the most among the Mountain Hawks.
“I was fortunate to have received donations of $ 500 and $ 100 from a single person,” he said. “Even a small donation makes a big difference and is very much appreciated.”
Money is important in the fight against cancer, but awareness is also important, and Armstrong has this message for others who are facing the battle of their lives.
“Don’t be afraid to share your story,” he said. “For me, I was definitely a bit hesitant to tell people at first, but everyone out there will be supportive. It’s always nice to have some outlets, so don’t be afraid to tell people. You don’t have to be embarrassed, you don’t have to be afraid. “