By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/28/12
The HEADstrong Foundation announced that more than $150,000 was raised at Friday night’s Lime Light Gala, a special event that celebrated the life and legacy of Ridley’s Nicholas “HEAD” Colleluori.
Hundreds of lacrosse supports attended the event at the Hyatt Regency on Penn’s Landing. The proceeds will be distributed to Nick’s House, City of Hope and the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center to support cure-finding research efforts.
“We are beyond ecstatic by the generosity and sheer number of supporters who attended our gala,” said Pat Colleluori, Director of Development for the HEADstrong Foundation. “Our Lime Light Gala is more than celebrating Nick’s life; it’s about outreach and promoting blood cancer awareness.”
The Gala featured a silent auction, a live auction and many special guests, including Philly sports comedian Joe Conklin.
HEADstrong President Cheryl Colleluori, Nick’s mother, gave a heartwarming speech about his life as videos and pictures of Nick flashed across large screens so all could get a small taste of his enthusiasm for life, even in his most challenging times.
“His life may have been short, but he lived it well and he lived it full of love with his family,” Cheryl said. “He had one simple wish: that others would benefit from the life he lived. This fueled the HEADstrong Foundation and the goal to defeat this disease.”
The evening’s highlight was the presentation of the inaugural Nicholas E. Colleluori Award to Delaware County’s Stephen Brown, a survivor of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
Brown, an Upper Darby graduate and Havertown resident, whose life has always revolved around athletics and fitness, was diagnosed with the disease in February of 2006. He underwent four rounds of chemotherapy and maintained his baseline fitness level, often running home from his treatments and quickly reached complete remission.
By July of that same year, he was back to racing triathlons. By September of that year, just 7 months after his diagnosis, “RemissionMan” (see remissionman.com) crossed the finish line of his 8th career iron distance triathlon. (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run).
He became an Assistant Triathlon Coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s TEAM in TRAINING program. In 2008 he was named TEAM in TRAINING’s “Volunteer of the Year” and in 2010 he was named “Man of the Year by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Brown, an accomplished writer and blogger, has chronicled his journey through remission and in May, 2007 published the book “My New Race” to tell the story.
“I am blown away by the explosion of the HEADstrong Foundation,” Brown said Friday night. “It began as a relatively small engine and has gained so much momentum it’s now a powerful machine.
“I’m on board. I think it’s important to get involved when I have something to contribute.”
To find out more about the HEADstrong Foundation, go to headstrongfoundation.org.