Chicago, IL – The HEADstrong Foundation™ proudly announced this week their expansion into the Midwest with the creation of Team HEADstrong Illinois. An initiative which will be spearheaded by Illinois native Tim Duffy, who has become an ambassador for the organization. Inspired by the story of Founder Nicholas “HEAD” Colleluori, Duffy is on a mission to bring further meaning and awareness to lacrosse players and families in the Midwest.
Tim Duffy is a coach who believes in empowering his players and the importance of being a positive role model, sharing life lessons and making a difference within the community through the sport. For more than a decade Tim Duffy has been committed to growing lacrosse in the Midwest. He is a former All-State and All-American Honorable Mention player at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Duffy played collegiately at Ohio State University and then professionally for the Chicago Machine. In 2004, Duffy was a Gold Medalist at the European Games and in 2010 was named Team USA All-Stars Head Coach. Duffy currently leads teams at the high school and competitive level in the state. This week Duffy and the HEADstrong Foundation announced that beginning Fall 2013 they will launch Team HEADstrong Illinois. The Chicago based program will not only provide athletes with an opportunity to play the game at the highest competitive levels it will also engage players in fundraising and community service, helping to transition well prepared student-athletes to the next level. Duffy hopes to field one team per grade and showcase their talents at select events throughout the country and in their backyard of Chicago during the summer.
Duffy has been a supporter of the HEADstrong Foundation™ since their inception. He has been involved with the organization over the past few years having helped in establishing their Chicagoland Lax Getaway Weekend, an annual event with proceeds supporting direct financial assistance to those affected by the disease in the Midwest. Additionally, Duffy was a member of their Inside Lacrosse Powerball Team. But, it was an inspirational speech given by Pat and Michael Colleluori to his team at their event last year that motivated Duffy to form the new program.
Team HEADstrong Illinois is committed to developing the highest caliber athletes while teaching players the importance of sportsmanship, community service and giving back to the community and to the game. An emphasis will be placed on making a difference in the local blood cancer community through service and generating of funds to support the HEADstrong Foundation’s service mission. Team HEADstrong Illinois will promote blood cancer awareness on the field wearing HEADstrong’s signature lime green helmets, gloves and uniforms. Lime Green is the National awareness color for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the disease that affected Founder Nicholas “HEAD” Colleluori.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing the Colleluori family for several years and what they have done and continue to do in Nick’s name is nothing shy of incredible. I am personally motivated by their commitment and dedication to sharing their story, promoting their cause and ability to empower others through the game of lacrosse. Last Fall our players were so motivated and inspired by the powerful words of Colleluori’s that I felt compelled to help them to grow their mission in the Midwest. I wanted to bring further meaning to just playing lacrosse and infuse the values and lessons of the HEADstrong Foundation into a competitive program. We are looking to engage players and providing them an experience that goes far beyond lacrosse.” says Duffy
“We are proud to welcome Team HEADstrong Illinois to our family and look forward to furthering our Nick’s vision through their achievements on the field and in the community. It is so heartwarming to know that our Nick’s vision is taking flight in Illinois and that both coaches and players felt inspired by our efforts to start a team with a higher purpose. Our Nick faced tremendous odds with his diagnosis, despite those odds Nicholas battled for 14 months. He was so motivated by the thought of teams from around the country assembling to face-off against blood cancer, it kept him fighting. The irony is that our very first team formally assembled on the day of Nick’s passing on November 28, 2006. We look forward to using the team as a vehicle for promoting blood cancer awareness, assisting families dealing with the harsh realities of cancer and supporting innovate research being conducted at Chicago based medical centers. We wish to thank Tim Duffy for his relentlessness in getting this program started and best of luck to all of those joining our Team of Champions.
Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom