For Immediate Release
December 8, 2011
Courtesy of the Saint Anselm Athletics Communications Staff
Manchester, N.H. – There is supporting a cause – in your own mind, with your beliefs, verbally with your peers, maybe a Facebook "like" or a Twitter re-tweet.
Then there is supporting a cause – by volunteering, donating, raising awareness, doing something with your time that makes a tangible difference in the lives of those that need it most. And you never know; those that need it most might be the people that mean the most to you.
The latter is exactly what the Saint Anselm College field hockey team did in the final month of its season.
Nicole Guimond, a junior on the team, had been kicking around the idea of doing some sort of breast cancer awareness fundraiser for some time, but was unsure of how to put it together.
Guimond received all the motivation she needed to put her idea into action this past summer, however.
"My mémé passed away this summer after battling cancer for fifteen years," Guimond said. "We were extremely close, and I wanted to do something that would make her proud."
So Guimond enlisted the help of her teammate and classmate, Megan Sullivan. Together, the pair sharpened their ideas, put them on paper and sent them out to the rest of their team.
"Corners for the Cure" had been born.
Head coach, Maygan Cassarino, also had a vested interest in the duo's idea, as her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer last year.
"When my girls approached me, it was just heartfelt emotion," Cassarino said. "These 19-year-old girls actually cared enough to organize something bigger than themselves. As their coach I'm just thrilled that they're reaching out to the community and giving financial support to a cause as big as breast cancer awareness."
For each of the team's three home games during the month of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they would earn money for each penalty corner they were awarded. Each student-athlete on the team had to get a sponsor that would pay $20 for each corner and also chip in another $10 if the team scored off a corner.
Altogether with 17 athletes on the team, penalty corners were worth $340 and corners that led to a goal were worth $510. The total amount of money raised would be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
"We are always thrilled when young people take up the cause of fighting breast cancer," said Deborah Peterson, Executive Director of the Vermont/New Hampshire Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "It is always important to keep this awareness at the forefront while we continue to fight this disease. The young people that help us do that are certainly invaluable."
On top of all the information they wrote up and sent to teammates and sponsors, Guimond and Sullivan created pink T-shirts for each player to wear during warm-ups that had the player's name and each of her sponsors on the back. They also had a banner made to hang on the fence during each game and purchased pink ribbons to hand out.
Heading into the Oct. 8 game against Adelphi – the first contest of "Corners for the Cure" – the Hawks had amassed 65 penalty corners through 11 games, or 5.91 corners per game. Average that out over three games and they were drawing just under 18 penalty corners. When you multiply that by $340, the team was looking at donating around $6,000.
Until they surpassed all expectations.
The Hawks kicked off the initiative that day with 12 corners, which was their second highest total of the season. They followed that up with seven against American International on Oct. 13 before closing with 10 versus Bentley on Oct. 20.
"I think there was an extra push to get corners during these games," Sullivan said. "Both the team and the crowd knew we were playing for something bigger than us."
The 29 corners were the most for the Hawks during any three-game home stretch this season, but more importantly, raised over $10,000 for breast cancer research and awareness.
"It's kind of crazy to think about," said Guimond whose initial idea wound up turning into something that will have an impact on the lives of many. "I'm just really grateful that my whole team participated."
The Hawks also showed their gratefulness toward the sponsors that helped make this possible by sending personal thank you notes, accompanied by a team picture taken prior to the first October home game, to all who donated.
Sponsors ranged from as large as companies such as TD Bank Boston and Nikon, to as small as relatives of some of the players.
"TD Bank is always trying to get involved in the community in any way, shape or form," said Ryan Hargesheimer, a financial services representative at one of the Boston branches. "This is especially true in communities where we have stores."
After all of the success on their first try, Guimond and Sullivan are hoping to make their initiative an annual occurrence for years to come. Guimond says plans are already in the works for next year and they hope to expand and join with the other teams they will be playing against to raise even more money.
"To raise all this money for an amazing cause says a lot about the character of this team," Sullivan said. "We set goals and met them. This is something Nicole and I hope will continue long after we graduate. We have already started planning next year's 'Corners for the Cure' and we hope to improve on the successes of this year."
Guimond is not worried about the team continuing the fundraiser after her and Sullivan have graduated. "I don't think that is going to be a problem," she said. "We are all women and know the statistics that one day it could be one of us we are raising the money for."