Lax team lifts again for charity
For the second year in a row, the Colby College men's lacrosse team called on both strength of muscle and strength of heart as it raised almost $14,000 with its "Bench Press for Pulmonary Fibrosis" event in Pulver Pavilion on Friday, Feb. 12.
After successfully raising almost $10,000 for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation last year, the team rallied again in an effort to beat that number. Students, teachers and faculty pledged a set amount of money to players of their choice for every repetition of 135 pounds that the team member completed. Each member of the team made it his goal to collect a minimum of ten donations, motivated by the knowledge that the more pledges he collected and the more reps he did, the more money would be donated toward finding a cure for pulmonary fibrosis. As Coach Jon Thompson said, this prompted the team to ask themselves "What does one more really mean?" After doing the event last year for the first time, it "caught on like wildfire--the guys loved it," Thompson said, so the team decided to continue with it again this year as it "helped us realize how important helping people we've never met is."
Thompson, the leader of the Colby men's lacrosse team's charitable efforts, is now in his second year as head coach. Thompson said that he has always made it a priority in his life to "personally make sure we help those that are less fortunate." He added that "it's been clear to me since meeting the guys at Colby that their attitude is contagious. They're willing to rally around a cause, no doubt about it."
The team has already developed a reputation for its philanthropic spirit and continued dedication to community service--their 156-mile fund raising bike ride from Colby to Bates, Bowdoin and back in October its most recent major fundraising event. This particular cause strikes a very personal chord with the team, however.
Captain Max Weiss '10 and his brother Colin Weiss '09, who also played for Thompson, lost their father to Pulmonary Fibrosis two years ago. With the help of Thompson, the Weiss brothers came up with the idea for the "Bench Press for Pulmonary Fibrosis" and it has had lasting effects.
Not only has the event raised thousands of dollars for a cause close to the team's heart, it has also inspired charitable action throughout the rest of the Colby community. "It's kind of like a virus," Weiss said. "People have been coming up to me on different sports teams saying they want to be involved." When asked how much he was hoping the team would raise this year, Weiss answered that it would "definitely break last year's" but that his personal goal was $15,000.
However determined this team was to bring in as much money as possible for the cause, it was clear that the real benefit it reaped from the "Bench Press for Pulmonary Fibrosis" event were not simply monetary.
For Weiss, it was "heartwarming to see that the team and school is doing everything they can to help out." For a team that looks to help those in need and inspire others to do the same, it was a day that helped the players realize how much "physical sacrifice can unite both a team and a campus to rally around a cause," Thompson said.