The Drexel University Men's Lacrosse Team participated in the 3rd Annual Nick Colleluori Classic on Saturday October 10, 2009, to help raise awareness about blood cancer.  Nicholas "Relentless" Colleluori graduated from Ridley High School in 2004 and attended Hofstra University as a Division I lacrosse player.  After experiencing allergy like symptoms during his young collegiate career, Nick was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a vicious blood cancer that directly affects the functioning of the Lymphatic system.  Nick earned his nickname "Relentless" for his courage in battling the disease for 14 months before passing away, undergoing intense chemotherapy, radiation, a stem cell transplant, and experimental treatments.  Nick's intense courage and strong motivation to fight the disease is truly inspirational.  While undergoing treatments, Nick counseled fellow patients and continued working out, even finding the strength to participate in one last game in August 2006.  His legacy lives on through The HEADstrong Foundation, established by his family to raise awareness about blood cancer and providing donations to various cancer research organizations in hopes of finding a cure.

In preparation for the tournament, the Drexel University men's lacrosse team sold a total of 300 promotional t-shirts on campus to raise $4,500.00 for The HEADstrong Foundation.  Each player sold 7 t-shirts for $15 each to other teams and students on campus, inspiring a sense of camaraderie behind this initiative.  The team wore green shoe laces during their two tournament games to support the foundation, as the players will continue to wear them at various regular season games this upcoming season. Drexel also supported a "Hero" for the day in Mike Rowson, who also unfortunately was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Using his strength through one round of chemotherapy and two hospital visitations, Mike has been able to fight off the disease for six years with support from his wife and four daughters. Through a lifetime of hard work and contributions to the community, Mike has continued to coach local sports teams, seeks additional education, and writes letters to his local newspaper.

Through fundraising efforts by the 12 Division I and 8 Division III teams that participated in the tournament, the foundation was able to make three significant donations to the following non-profit organizations for the included amounts:

  • University of Pennsylvania, Stephen J. Schuster Lymphoma Research Fund - $50,000
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk, Taking Steps Towards A Cure - $25,000
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Research Portfolio - $20,000

Mrs. Cheryl Colleluori, the President of the HEADstrong Foundation and mother of Nick, has the following message for all in regards to the success of this year's tournament and her motivation behind running the organization:

"The HEADstrong Foundation and the Colleluori Family were so pleased that the Drexel University's Men's Lacrosse Program was part of this year's Nick Colleluori Lacrosse Classic.  The team helped generate over $180,000 in proceeds which was a result of their selling our t-shirts on campus.   The selling of the t-shirts is a key component to our fundraising efforts, as each team sells 300 t-shirts on their campuses. Not only are they are a walking billboard but by doing this the teams are also promoting blood cancer awareness, the disease that took Nick from us.  The Colonial Athletic Association was also very supportive as Nick battled the disease and continues to support our efforts.

Many people ask us why we do this because obviously it isn't easy, our reply is that will be harder if people forget who Nick was.  We push through our grief to honor our son and brother and to fulfill a promise made to him in his final days, which was to take over the reins and grow the foundation, to tell his story to as many who will listen and for others to learn and benefit from his experience.  It is our honor to fulfill his dreams and a privilege to watch this unfold before our eyes. Blood cancer has become the enemy and this disease has picked the wrong family to mess with."

Please visit www.headstrongfoundation.org for more information and or to make a donation.  Please also feel free to contact the organization at headstrongfoundation@gmail.com if you would like to get involved.

  • Wear green HEADstrong shoelaces during all home games
  • Continue to sell HEADstrong T-Shirts
  • Potentially expand the involvement to parents and alumni
Plans are underway for the Dragons to Participate in next year's 4th annual Nick Colleluori Classic.