By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/16/13
Hundreds of lacrosse supporters enjoyed an evening of reflection and celebration Friday night at the HEADstrong Foundation’s Third Annual Limelight Gala at the Hyatt Regency.
The event honored the memory, legacy and dreams of Nicholas Colleluori, the Ridley High (PA) graduate who passed away in 2006 after a 14-month fight vs. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while a student-athlete playing lacrosse at Hofstra University.
The Gala featured a banquet, a heartwarming speech by Nick’s mother, HEADstrong President Cheryl Colleluori, a silent auction, a live auction, a magician (Puck Puckering), words by Nick’s physician, Dr. Stephen Schuster, and video and pictures of Nick.
Mrs. Colleluori spoke about the $3.1 million raised by the HEADstrong Foundation, which now runs 160 events – the biggest being the Nick Colleluori Classic each October at Ridley – and has club teams in eight states. She also spoke about the incredible team of doctors from the Abramson Cancer Center (Penn Medicine), the impact of Nick’s House for families of cancer patients and breakthrough medical developments occurring right now in blood cancer and beyond.
A major highlight was the second winner of the Nicholas E. Colleluori Award, which goes to a blood cancer survivor. Twenty-year old Katherine Frega, a Syracuse University freshman and graduate of Westfield High School (N.J.), is cancer free after a relentless fight the past three years with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
The high school lacrosse season is just starting – but the HEADstrong Foundation’s work seems to increase all year.
“We wish to take a minute to reflect on our accomplishments and milestones each year; great thought and planning goes into this event to make it magical for our guests,” said Cheryl Colleluori. “But we must always remember that while we are here celebrating, someone in the world is learning that they have blood cancer and someone is saying good bye to a loved one.”