Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/23/14
From Press Release
In the weeks leading up to his untimely passing HEADstrong founder Nicholas Colleluori did something that he had never done before, he grew a mustache. After losing his hair multiple times from chemotherapy, he decided that if his hair wouldn’t grow then he would grow facial hair in protest of blood cancer.
“In the last weeks of his life, Nick embraced the one thing that he could control and so he grew a mustache. The mustache was his way of feeling normal again.” says Cheryl Colleluori, HF President and Nick’s Mom
The always clean shaven Colleluori thought that the humor associated with his new look might also help ease the anxieties and concerns of those closest to him. And in his final days the Hofstra Men’s Lacrosse team boarded a bus headed for Holmes, Pennsylvania to say their final goodbyes to Colleluori. The frail Colleluori now with a mustache sat in a recliner in the family’s living room. His team gathered around him not knowing what to say. Colleluori began stroking his mustache and said “so what do you think about my new look?” For the next 2 hours he held court; sharing memories, stories and jokes with his teammates until he was exhausted.
“It was one of those incredible moments that you truly thank god that you were part of. Nick was able to mentally escape the pain that he was enduring and made everyone feel at ease. Despite the difficulty surrounding the circumstances Nick was able to bring joy and comfort and it all started with his mustache.” said Pat Colleluori, HF CMO and Nick’s Brother
Colleluori lost his battle to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on November 28th, 2006 just days after the team visit. The Hofstra lacrosse player who united the sport was proudly laid to rest in his Hofstra Pride uniform and his mustache.
Two years after Nick’s passing, the HEADstrong Foundation™ was introduced to Ken Clausen (The Hill School) and there was an instant connection. Both Ken and Nick wore the #27, were defensemen, were from Southeastern Pennsylvania and coincidently shared the same birthday. Clausen, a then-junior at UVA who was known as being one of the nation’s defensemen also sported a signature mustache and was inspired to use it for raising awareness and funds to support the HEADstrong Foundation. So together, Clausen, UVA Athletic Trainer Rebecca Vozzo and HF’s Pat Colleluori created Lacrosse Mustache Madness™, a charity campaign uniting the lacrosse community in support of the HEADstrong Foundation™.
“The story behind the mustache still gives me chills. Over the next 6 weeks lacrosse players from across the country will unite in support of the fight against cancer. Since the inception of campaign we have raised over $400,000 for the cause. Ironically, the campaign coincides with the story of Nick’s mustache and we hope that others will take the initiative to help the cause by growing their stache and fundraising to support Nick’s vision of HEADstrong.” says Ken Clausen, LMM Founder
Lacrosse Mustache Madness™ is a charity campaign uniting the lacrosse community in support of the HEADstrong Foundation™. This interactive, social media driven fundraiser encourages lacrosse teams and players to grow or draw on mustaches of any imaginable shape or size and use them to raise money for the cause. HEADstrong Foundation is a 501(c)(3) committed to being a resource for cancer patients and families, helping them to navigate the harrowing ordeal of cancer by providing essential programs and services to improve quality of life.