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Katie Samson: Saturday’s 13th annual event is bigger, better than ever

Tuesday, 23rd April 2013

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Girl's/Women's, High School, Posted 4/23/13
From Press Release

A crowd of 10,000 is expected Saturday at Radnor High when the largest field of high school games in the nation competes in the 13th annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival.

The event features 27 games – 14 girls’ and 13 boys’ – and includes many of the top-ranked teams in the Philadelphia area as well as boys’ powers from Connecticut and New Jersey.Katie Samson

This year’s special guest will be cancer survivor Mark Herzlich, a New York Giants linebacker and Super Bowl Champion. Herzlich, a Conestoga High grad who starred in football and lacrosse for the Pioneers, will be a guest speaker and will receive the KSF Inspiration Award.

The event will feature two FanZones, over 50 sponsors, over 20 vendors, wheelchair rugby/tennis/basketball athletes, an appearance by the Philly PHANATIC and Hershey Park Candy Bar mascots, Wings’ mascot Maddog and Mickie Mouse.

The Katie Samson Foundation has raised over $1.3 million to fight paralysis and quality of life improvements for spinal cord injury patients. It is dedicated to Katie Samson, a former Radnor High great and NCAA champion at Middlebury College who suffered a spinal cord injury in 1999 while sledding in a neary park and became a quadriplegic but continues to live an and active lifestyle.

Saturday’s event also features the first college game in its history. At 5:30 p.m. on the turf field, Pennsylvania will face Bellarmine in a men’s contest.

The Katie Samson Foundation raised over $150,000 in 2012. The proceeds go to charities supporting spinal cord injury research, care, and quality of life improvements.

The Event:

Motivated by Katie’s perseverance and courage, volunteers in the lacrosse community and beyond support the cause year after year. The festival is filled with activities for the whole family with exciting lacrosse team match-ups, a demonstration of wheelchair sports, food, fan zones, and a spirit of sportsmanship and purpose. The year 2013 marks a new chapter for KSF: hosting a Division 1 Men’s Lacrosse game in the evening.

The Highlights:

* 27 premier boys’ and girls’ league-sanctioned regular season games, several youth team games, and our first NCAA men’s college game – UPenn vs. Bellarmine at Radnor High School, 5:30 pm on Prevost Field.

* The Fest offers these athletes an opportunity to experience a unique community spirit of giving while competing in a challenging sporting event.

* Seven fields running simultaneously from 9am to 6pm.

* Over 10,000 attendees

* The Philly Phanatic will be there from 2-4pm!

* Disabled athletes from Magee Rehab demonstrating wheelchair rugby (11:15am), tennis (1:15pm) and basketball (3:15pm) games.

* Mark Herzlich, Super Bowl Champion Linebacker, cancer survivor and former KSF festival star will be receiving the 2013 KSF Inspiration Award and speaking at 2:45 pm before the Conestoga game on Prevost Field, Radnor High School. He was a star football and lacrosse player at Conestoga High School and played in the festival for three years. At Boston College, he was all ACC and ACC defensive player of the year, clearly in line to be a first round draft pick. In May, 2009 he was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer and skipped the 2009 season. Despite not playing football in 2009, he received the Disney’s Wide World of Sports Spirit Award as well as the Nils V. “Swede” Nelson Award for sportsmanship. In January, 2011, he received the “Most Courageous Athlete” award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. On July 26, 2011, Herzlich signed as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants. Herzlich made the New York Giants final 53 man roster. He made his first NFL start against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 20, 2011

* Families from all over the mid-Atlantic region will be enjoying games, rides, boutiques, face-painters, balloon artists, great raffle prizes, plenty of food and of course, great lacrosse. There will be two FanZones which will have “Katie’sKiddieKorner” for younger fans, a Mickey Mouse Park and Tubs of Fun, Clown and Balloon Designs, a Mechanical Bull, Rock Climbing Wall, Toy Story Moonbounce, B101 music, and visits from Mickey Mouse, Hershey characters,the Wings’ Maddog and the Phillies’ Phanatic.

* Food vendors include Dunkin Donuts, Bravo Pizza, Maui Wowi, Mesa Grill, Sweet Box Cupcakes plus Peace of Pizza and Big E’s funnel cakes and fries.

* Boutique set-ups in both Fan Zones guarantee a shopping opportunity for all, with Varsity Belts, Daphne’s Details, Pinnie World, Spunk Wear, and more.

* Cascade, Competitive Edge, Lightning Lacrosse, Lacrosse International, NXT Sports will have the latest lacrosse clothing and gear at great Fest prices.

* In support of local lacrosse legend John Christmas’ foundation LEAPS (Lacrosse Education Attitude Perseverance Success), we are asking Fest attendees to clear out their basement of used lacrosse equipment, and to PLEASE bring it to the Fest, dropping it off at either entrance. This will provide countless opportunities for inner city kids to learn and experience the great sport of lacrosse through John’s passionate efforts to make a difference.

The Cause:

The Katie Samson Foundation raises money for research to identify a cure for spinal cord injuries and to optimize care and quality of life for spinal cord patients. The foundation also promotes social awareness as the lacrosse community comes together to support the festival. Through Katie’s prodigious courage and perseverance, her foundation has successfully raised funds to support spinal cord injury research, patient care, and quality of life improvements.

Over $1,300,000 has been donated. Festival contributions have supported:
Operation First Response – Supporting our nation’s spinal cord injured heroes and their families.

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis – The first ever human clinical trial that employs a combination of cell transplantation and anti-inflammatory medication that protects the regenerating nerve cells in the spinal cord.

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 the thoughts about movement into electrical impulses that instruct muscles to perform complex activities while bypassing areas of spinal cord injury.
The Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports – Medical advances go hand in hand with the physical activities that maintain muscle tone and improve quality of life. Contributions support athletic programs and equipment for individuals with physical limitations. Murder ball (wheelchair rugby) and adaptive rowing at the Philadelphia Rowing Program for the Disabled on the Schuylkill are activities supported directly by KSF funding.

The Wellness Center and Fitness Program at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital. KSF funds support a multi-purpose trainer and help make exercise more accessible to people with disabilities.

Help Hope Live (formerly NTAF) – Financial experts help patients bridge the financial gap between health insurance coverage and funds needed to heal, live and thrive.
Empower Spinal Cord Injury, Inc – A nonprofit organization that focuses on rehabilitation for individuals living with spinal cord injuries.

Legal Clinic for the Disabled – Providers of free high-quality legal services to low-income people with physical disabilities.

Katie Samson – The Inspiration:

Katie Samson grew up in Wayne, Pennsylvania and graduated from Radnor High in 1998. She excelled as a lacrosse goalie, community volunteer, and art enthusiast. While attending Middlebury College in Vermont she helped her team capture the Division III National Championship in 1999 and she was named MVP. The following winter Katie’s life was forever altered when she suffered a spinal cord injury while sledding in a nearby park and became a quadriplegic.

After months of rehabilitation and encouragement from family and friends, Katie went back to finish her degree and help coach her college team to two more National titles. Katie is now an active member of the Katie Samson Foundation, a Museum Educator at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and an Adjunct Instructor at West Chester University and Thomas Jefferson University. She is also a peer mentor for people who have suffered spinal cord injury where she encourages her mentees to seek out adaptive sports and therapeutic programs that have had such a positive effect on her life.

Katie’s two brothers, David (Germantown Academy assistant) and Brian (head coach of three-time defending state champion Conestoga), and her father, Peter, coach lacrosse. For the past 13 years, Katie and her family and the Katie Samson Foundation volunteers have continued to raise money to support spinal cord injury research and increase the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Event Details:

The high school games will begin at 9:00am on Saturday, April 27th. All of the games will be played at Radnor High School! The festival website,, has the full schedule as well as all the other exciting details or visit us on Facebook – Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival. An $8 ($5 for students/under 3 is free!) recommended admission fee allows unlimited access to all activities and rides within the two Fan Zones.

Supporting the festival offers an opportunity to do something meaningful and historic to impact the lives of people affected by spinal cord injuries. The Katie Samson Foundation is a 501©3 corporation located at 522 Brookside Avenue, St David’s, PA 19087 (610-688-1606). All donations are tax deductible. Please contact Clare Girton, Director of Development, 610-293-9984,, with any questions.


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