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9th Annual Katie Samson Festival Saturday at Radnor expected to draw 9,000 people

Thursday, 23rd April 2009

Categories Boy's/Men's, Girl's/Women's, High School, Posted 4/23/09
From Press Releases

An crowd of 9,000 is expected Saturday at Radnor High School for the largest single-day field in the country this year at the 9th Annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival.

The popular event will raise money for spinal cord trauma research and rehabilitation and honors the spirit of former Radnor great Katie Samson, who suffered a serious spinal cord injury nine years ago and is paralyzed from the chest down.

Action begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. In all, 52 teams – 26 girls’ team and 26 boys’ teams – will play 26 games on seven fields. The Festival will feature nearly all of the top-ranked teams in Pennsylvania, according to the state’s Lacrosse Media Rankings.

The Festival is organized by volunteers from the Philadelphia regional lacrosse community and the Katie Samson Foundation.  In nearly 10 years, the Foundation has raised over $875,000 through the proceeds of the Festival and corporate and individual donations.

The Highlights of this year’s Festival include:

*Twenty-six premier boys’ and girls’ league-sanctioned games, along with 8 youth team games, all at one campus at Radnor High School.

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

*Athletes with disabilities from Magee Rehab will be demonstrating wheelchair rugby and basketball games for the first time at the Festival.

*High profile sports figures attending past Fests have included: Villanova basketball Coach Jay Wright; Philadelphia Eagles’ players Brian Westbrook and Mike Mamula; former Philadelphia Flyer John LeClair; and many members of the Philadelphia Wings and Barrage teams, including Jake Bergey and Kyle Sweeney.   Speakers for this year’s Fest are TBD.

*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.  This year there will be two FanZones which will have “katie’s kiddie korner” for younger fans, a Mechanical Bull, Maverik Shooting Cage, Rock Climbing Wall, Moonbounces and Slides, and visits from SpongeBob and the Wings’ Maddog.

*Sponsors Maverik and Cascade will have the latest in lacrosse gear on display

*Food vendors include Bravo and Peace of Pizza, Johnny’s Dog House, Saxby’s, Mr. Softee, plus great bbq and funnel cakes.

*Boutique set-ups in both FanZones guarantee a shopping opportunity for all, with RibbonsButtonsBows, Sweet Tarragon, Spotted Hill Farms, Naturescripts and more.

*Competitive Edge, Yolo and Lacrosse International have the latest lacrosse clothing and gear at great Fest prices.

*In support of John Christmas and Eric Gregg’s new foundation, LEAPS

(Lacrosse Education Attitude Perserverance Success), we are asking anyone attending the Fest to clear out their basement or shed of used lacrosse equipment, and to please bring it to the Fest and drop it off at either of the 2 entrances to the Fest.  This will provide countless opportunities for inner city kids to learn and experience the great sport of lacrosse through the LEAPS’ 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 Samson’s prodigious courage and perseverance, the foundation has successfully raised funds to support spinal cord injury research, patient care, and quality of life improvements.

In 2008, festival contributions supported:

*The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation – The Translational Research Fund supports studies of nerve growth and connectivity in the spinal cord to bridge a region of injury and  reconnect the brain with muscles.

*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 into electrical impulses that instruct muscles to perform complex activities while bypassing areas of spinal cord injury.

*The National Transplant and Catastrophic Industry Fund (NTAF) – Contributions help offset the many uninsured medical expenses associated with spinal cord injury patients.

*Magee Rehabilitation Hospital and 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. Murderball (wheelchair rugby) and adaptive rowing at the Philadelphia Rowing Program for the Disabled on the Schuykill are a few of the activities supported directly by KSF funding.  In the Beijing Paralympics, our US Adaptive Team earned silver and bronze medals in rowing events utilizing a boat donated by KSF.

*To date, over $875,000 has been raised.

*In 2008, over $135,000 in festival proceeds were donated to fund spinal cord research; to support adaptive sports for spinal cord patients via adaptive wheelchair and row boat purchases; and to support patient care, including Katie’s uninsured medical expenses.

Katie Samson – The Inspiration

Katie Samson grew up in Radnor and developed a strong connection to the lacrosse community at a young age, thanks to her two older brothers who played; her father who coached; and her mother who cheered her on every step of the way.

Samson graduated from Radnor High School in 1998 and went on to play lacrosse at Middlebury College.  As a freshman goaltender, Samson’s team won the Division III National Championship in 1999 and she was named MVP.  In January 2000,

Samson suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a sledding accident and was immediately paralyzed from the chest down.

After tremendous support from family, friends, teammates, and mentors, Samson returned to Middlebury, determined to finish only a semester behind her class. She helped coach her team to two other National Championships, graduated cum laude with a double major in anthropology and art history, and was elected by her peers to carry the Olympic torch in the relay for the  2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

While living in Tucson, Arizona for the past four years, Samson completed her masters degree in Art History from the University of Arizona, and taught as a college instructor for a year and a half at the Pima County Community College.  She joined an all male wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and learned how to fly a glider in the desert.

Samson continues to ski in the winter in an adaptive sled called a bi-ski, as well as play tennis, and swim.  She credits sports and recreation as a huge boost in her attitude, confidence and overall good health.

In September, 2008, Samson took on an exciting and challenging position as Curator of Education (Youth and Family) for the Tucson Museum of Art.  Part of Samson’s position at the Museum is managing an alternative public high school called The Museum School of the Visual Arts.  This unique school operates as an academic institution and art school for talented young artists in the Tucson Museum of Art.

Event Details and Donations:

A $5 recommended admission fee allows unlimited access to all activities and rides within the two FanZones.

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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              610-688-1606      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).

All donations are tax deductible.  Please contact Clare Girton, Director of Development, 610-293-9984,, with any questions about sponsorships or donations. More information can be accessed on the Foundation website at


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