Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/29/11
Perfect weather and a standout field loaded with top Philly teams will be featured Saturday with a crowd of at least 10,000 expected to attend the 11th annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival at Radnor High.
Once again, the event that raises money for spinal cord research and development will have 54 teams, making it the largest single-day high school lacrosse event in the country.
Highlighted by a battle between the top two ranked boys’ teams in the country – Haverford School and Conestoga – the competition will be fierce but the atmosphere will be one of sportsmanship, camaraderie, and purpose. (see website at http://katiesamsonlaxfest.com/index.html)
Katie Samson, a Radnor High School graduate and Middlebury College student, was the goalie for their Division III lacrosse championship team in 1999 and was named MVP. In January 2000, Samson was the victim of a devastating spinal cord trauma caused by a sledding accident, paralyzing her from the chest down. Through Samson’s prodigious courage and perseverance, she went back to Middlebury, earned a dual major degree, and coached lacrosse teams.
She lived in Tucson for several years, earning her masters degree at the University of Arizona and working as a curator of education for the Tucson Museum of Art. Samson is happy to have recently moved back to Philadelphia to be closer to her family and to assist arts and cultural organizations in the area. She plays wheelchair rugby and tennis for the Magee Adaptive Sports Program, skis in Vermont, and continues her involvement with the KSF Lacrosse Festival.
She is grateful to all the amazing volunteers who put hours into making the Festival so worthwhile each year. In 2010, the Katie Samson Foundation hit the $1,000,000 mark. Foundation officials are proud to have distributed the funds to charities supporting spinal cord injury research, care, and quality of life improvements.
Through the years, the festival has grown beyond anyone’s expectations in both numbers and stature. Each year, more teams ask to participate. More sponsors have stepped up with their support. More vendors have turned out to participate and attendance has swelled. The event also features a FanZone.
While lacrosse is always front and center, Foundation officials stress that the commitment to support Katie and others is the epitome of a community rallying around one of its own and making a real difference in people’s lives.
The Katie Samson Foundation continues to support promising research and rehabilitation treatment to improve function, provide independenceand quality of life for those with spinal cord injuries. Katie Samson has supported many charities since 2001:
The National Transplant and Catastrophic Injury Fund (NTAF) – The leader in fundraising assistance and support for catastrophic injury.
Contributions to NTAF help offset the many uninsured medical expenses associated with spinal cord injury.
Operation First Response – Supporting our nation’s wounded heroes and their families.
The Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital – Support for the BMRH Adapted Driving Program provides adapted driving services for spinal cord injured patients. Funds have also been donated to the Lokomat Pro Rehabilitation robotics system.
The Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports and the Magee Rehabilitation Hospital – Supporting competitive wheelchair athletes with equipment and a wellness center, including training
and adaptation of boats for rowers to train for the Paralympics.
The BrainGate Project at Brown University – Neuroscientists, electrical engineers and computer scientists featured on “60 Minutes” under the direction of Professor John Donoghue are working together to translate thoughts about movement into electrical impulses that instruct muscles to perform complex activities while bypassing areas of spinal
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis – The first ever human clinical trial that employs a combination of cell transplantation and antiinflammatory medication that protects the regenerating nerve cells in the spinal cord.
Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids – Pediatric wheelchairs have been purchased for disabled Iraqi kids.
Paralyzed Veterans of America – Donations support wheelchair sports programs for vets.
Thorncroft – KSF gift purchased adaptive saddle for therapeutic horseback riding.
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation – Funds directed to spinal cord research.