September 19, 2011 – The High Point University women’s lacrosse team is dedicating its 2012 season to Mason LaVack, the Panthers’ No. 1 fan who passed away from cancer in early September. The team adopted Mason through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and he participated in team activities for the past two years.
“Mason was the heartbeat of this team last year, he gave us motivation that we couldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “We will be forever grateful to his parents Dave and Stacy for allowing us to love and support him through his battle. This season we will play in honor of Mason and we will continue to support his sister and brother, Olivia and Evan. Mason was a true fighter and we will keep him close to our hearts forever.”
Boswell and assistant coach Whitney Michele made Mason part of High Point University athletics shortly after they arrived in 2010, bringing him to campus for events before HPU even had a full women’s lacrosse team. In that first year, Mason was able to do things like attend games with the coaches and meet HPU teams in their locker rooms after games. He threw out the first pitch before an HPU baseball game in 2010.
When the Panthers’ first women’s lacrosse team arrived in the fall of 2010, Mason became involved with everything the team did. He was able to travel to some games on the bus with the team, sat on the bench during games and attended team events.
Mason was on the bench during the Panthers’ 2011 championship run and celebrated with the team after HPU beat Jacksonville in overtime in the National Lacrosse Conference championship game. He helped inspire the team to a 15 wins in 2011, a record for a first-year NCAA Div. I team.
“Mason was our biggest inspiration, there is no doubt he played a huge part in our successful season last year,” said junior Anna Wallingford. “He will be missed, but his courage will continue to inspire us every day.”
In April, Fox 8 News did a feature about HPU’s involvement with Mason.
Mason passed away of Anaplastic Ganglioglioma cancer, a rare brain tumor, on Sept. 6, 2011. He was nine years old. Those wishing to honor Mason may donate to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation at pbtfus.org the Livestrong Campaign at livestrong.org and Friends of Jacqueline at friendsofjaclyn.org. More information about Mason can be found on his family’s website at migisiman.org.
The HPU women’s lacrosse team will continue to invite Mason’s family to be part of the program and will continue being involved with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.