Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/25/10
From Press Releases and Staff Reports
The 10th Annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival will be held on Saturday, April 24, at Radnor High School.
This year’s festival will be the biggest yet and the largest single-day high school lacrosse festival in the country with a record 54 varsity teams – 26 boys teams and 28 girls teams, 12 youth teams and four alumni teams. (Click here for the list of scholastic games.)
A crowd of approximately 10,000 is expected for the event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The festival provides many of the premier high school lacrosse teams in the Mid-Atlantic and beyond with an atmosphere promoting sportsmanship, camaraderie and purpose. The Festival is organized by volunteers from the Philadelphia regional lacrosse community and the Katie Samson Foundation. The community is inspired by the courage and perseverance of Katie, a local NCAA Division III lacrosse champion, who, in January, 2000, was the victim of a devastating spinal cord trauma paralyzing her from the chest down.
The festival highlights:
* Twenty-seven boys’ and girls’ league-sanctioned games, along with six youth team games and two alumni games, all at Radnor High School.
* The Fest offers these athletes an opportunity to experience a unique community spirit of giving while competing in a challenging sporting event.
* Disabled athletes from Magee Rehab will be demonstrating wheelchair rugby and basketball games.
* 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, lacrosse. This year there will be two FanZones which will have “Katie’sKiddieKorner” for younger fans, a Mechanical Bull, Maverik Shooting Cage, Rock Climbing Wall, Moonbounces and Slides, Photo Booth 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 Pizza, Johnny’s Dog House, Saxby’s, Mr. Softee, Cupcakes Gourmet plus great BBQ and funnel cakes.
* Boutique set-ups in both Fan Zones guarantee a shopping opportunity for all, with Brooklyn Bags, MauiWowi, and more.
* Competitive Edge, Yolo and Lacrosse International 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 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 John’s passionate efforts to make a difference.
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.
In 2009, over $100,000 in festival contributions supported
* Operation First Response – Supporting our nation’s spinal cord injured veterans and their families.
* Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids – Three pediatric wheelchairs were purchased for disabled Iraqi kids.
* The Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital. Funds were specifically donated to the Lokamat Pro Rehabilitation Robotics system to help patients recovering from spinal and brain injury
* 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.
* The Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports and the Magee Rehabilitation Hospital. – 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. In the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, our US Adaptive Team earned silver and bronze medals in rowing events utilizing a boat donated by KSF.
* To date, almost $1 million have been raised – more than $100,000 per year!
Katie Samson – The Inspiration
Katie Samson grew up in Radnor, PA, 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 was recruited to play lacrosse at Middlebury College (CT). As a freshman goaltender, Katie’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 in Radnor 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, AZ, for the past five years, Samson completed her masters degree in Art History from the University of Arizona, and has taught as a college instructor, joined an all-male wheelchair rugby team and learned how to fly a glider in the desert.
samson continues to ski, play tennis and swim with adaptive equipment. She credits sports and recreation with boosting her attitude, confidence and overall good health. She is now a thriving adult enjoying life in Arizona
In September, 2008, Katie 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.
As much as Samson misses her family, friends, and lacrosse, she has become fond of desert living. She feels very fortunate to still be connected to such a strong community of volunteers that help make this festival possible.
The high school games will begin at 9:00am on Saturday, April 24th. All of the games will be played at Radnor High School! The festival website, www.katiesamsonlaxfest.com, has the full schedule as well as all the other exciting details. A $5 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions about sponsorships or donations.
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