Photo Credit: Pat Colleluori, HEADstrong
I was fortunate enough to get time to talk with the HEADstrong foundation, specifically about their Lax Stache Madness campaign. Pat Colleluori Jr. was kind enough to take his time to answer any questions we could come up with about their foundation, the campaign, and the progression of HEADstrong. Pat is the HEADstrong director of development and a brother of Nick Colleluori, the Hofstra lacrosse player who lost his battle with large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer affecting the lymphatic system. Nick is the inspiration and motivation behind HEADstrong, an organization named after Nicholas “Head” Colleluori.
How long has Mustache Madness been around? Describe the differences between Year 1 and 2013.
Lacrosse Mustache Madness™ is a fundraising campaign supporting the HEADstrong Foundation™ now its 5th year. The campaign was conceptualized by Ken Clausen during his senior year at the University of Virginia who was looking for a fun and interactive way to make a difference through the game. Clausen teamed up with UVA athletic trainer Rebecca Vozzo to create the fall campaign marketed around Ken’s signature stache. Ken thought it would it would a fun way to unite players in the traditional off-season to raise funds to support causes rooted in the game.
Originally, HEADstrong Foundation™ was a partial benefactor of the campaign. HEADstrong recognized the opportunity to support and evolve the campaign to a national level and HF offered to support the campaign administratively allowing Clausen the ability to be the face of the fundraiser. Working alongside of the HEADstrong Foundation Clausen learned that he and the organization had much more in common than just trying to do good things through the sport. It turned out that HF founder and Ken Clausen were both from Southeastern, Pennsylvania, both wore the #27, both were defensemen and ironically were born on the same day, October 19th. Clausen also developed a strong relationship with HF Director of Development Pat Colleluori.
Initially, the kick-off for LMM™ began November 1st, but after realizing that Nick and Ken shared a birthday we decided to use October 19th as the start date for the campaign.
In our inaugural year the campaign raised $32,000 and has grown significantly since gaining the support of the players and teams across the country. In 2010, HEADstrong Foundation became the sole benefactor of the campaign and the campaign took flight and the campaign raised $65,000. In 2011, the campaign grew to raising over $91,000 and in 2012 LMM helped raise a staggering $103,000. On average over 430 participants take place in the fundraising effort, representing over 50 fundraising teams.
In 2013, Lacrosse Mustache Madness introduced two divisions of fundraising. The Mustache Division is geared for participants 18+ while the Stubble Division is open for participants 10-17 with parental permission. Participants are rewarded for their fundraising efforts with incentive brackets featuring some incredible prizes. Prizes range from gear and equipment from Warrior to iPad minis. This year the grand prize winner of the Mustachio Division will win an all-inclusive trip for (2) to Cancun, Mexico and the winner of the Stubble Division will take home an X-Box One Game System.
Why should people get involved? How does the money raised directly go to helping people?
Lacrosse Mustache Madness is great way for players to compete off the playing field while supporting the HEADstrong mission. Being part of the campaign is as simple as growing or drawing on a mustache, creating a profile and sharing your efforts with your social network, asking them to give to your fundraising goal. In addition, participants qualify for amazing prizes based on their individual fundraising efforts.
The funds raised through Lacrosse Mustache Madness directly support the essential programs and services offered by the HEADstrong Foundation™. The non-profit organization is HEADing efforts to improve the quality of life for those affected by blood cancers and supports those working towards eliminating the disease. On a national level the organization is providing resources such as direct financial assistance, complimentary long-term housing for patients through Nick’s House™, providing family meals and entertainment outlets for those hospitalized, funding innovative research through the Nicholas E. Colleluori Lymphoma research fund and much, much more. $.90 of every dollar raised by the organization directly supports their programs and services.
What is the best way for someone to get active with Mustaches Madness? Do they have to grow facial hair? Or are there other ways to get involved as well?
Getting involved with the campaign is as simple as going to laxstachemadness.com and registering. There is a $15.00 registration fee that gets you access to the our online giving module powered by First Giving™, a pair of HF Crew Socks, Limited Edition lime green silicone mustache helmet clip and an online download of Lacrosse Dodge by Crosse Studios™.
The effort does not require anything more than customizing a profile, growing or drawing on a mustache, sharing the fundraising link with your social network and asking people to donate. Participants send weekly emails archiving their stache growth.
Teams around the country are getting involved in several ways. Some teams are selling custom mustache t-shirts and we are always open to programs who are interested in helping the cause in whatever way possible. Last year we had an elementary school in Virginia host a mustache cornhole tournament.
You have been doing more and more with lime green lacrosse apparel… what’s next for you guys? And how has the gear aspect really helped to raise awareness?
With lime green serving as the national awareness color for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma the integrity behind the color is something that goes far beyond its popularity. HF™ launched into the sport using our lime green laces as a vehicle for promoting cause awareness and increased visibility of our mission. Since our inception we have continued to develop products with the purpose of awareness and proceeds to support the organization. Through brand partnerships, licensing and collaborations we have built a strong portfolio of partners in the game helping us to further the cause through product. Our product is a major revenue stream for the Foundation and we are always exploring opportunities. Product helps to spread our mission in places that we do not have a presence. The branding power of HF is very strong because it represents so much more than apparel; it represents hope, strength and a commitment to those whose lives have been turned upside down by cancer. We have plans to further our HF Collection™ internally, through brand partnerships such as Brine and Warrior and are exploring an opportunity to build a line intended for retail.
Do you have a mustache tattoo anywhere on your body? Will you ever get one? Be honest!
Ken actually has a mustache tattoo on his index finger. The finger stache has been replicated on several products created by Warrior for HF’s Relentless27™ collection including: Warrior Riot Glove, Warrior Circle Dubs HF Handle and the Warrior Sweet Stache T-shirt.
Last year HEADstrong Foundation created a finger stache temporary tattoo to distribute to players all over the country at their grass roots marketing events during the year.
Who has grown the best mustache ever for Mustache Madness?
Honestly there are so many amazing staches that we have seen over the years. Sean Sheehe from Towson University, Ben Kaminow from Syracuse University, Zach Frank from Sacred Heart and David Cutler from Chestnut Hill College are just a few that standouts over the years.
Would you ever consider asking the Boston Red Sox to get involved?
Lacrosse Mustache Madness is a sport specific initiative and something that unites lacrosse players from around the country. It was really cool to see the Boston Red Sox have so much success this year and all the while they grew their facial hair out. Mustaches and facial hair in general have become very popular and over the years several teams have grown out their beards and mustaches out of superstition. Our hope is that mustaches grown for Lacrosse Mustache Madness will help to bring good luck to everyone. It would be really cool to see the “Good Luck” Stache take more of a precedent during the NCAA tournament or the MLL playoffs.
How does it make you feel when you see all these people with Mustaches in November? Does LMM serve as a point where HF can reignite the fires every year?
It is a really powerful statement to see so many players from across the country sporting staches for the cause, more importantly its feels even better presenting a check for over $100,000 to the HEADstrong Foundation™ to support patients and their families affected by blood cancers.
Lacrosse Mustache Madness™ is just one of the many campaigns supporting the HF™. What keeps the wheels turning with HF™ is their commitment to making a significant difference in the lives of people and simultaneously evolving product, events and services that people can get behind. Lacrosse Mustache Madness™ is a great way for people to get their feet wet with supporting the cause. HF™ has built a very personalized mission and they work directly with families all over the country. It’s the other way around, HF™ serves as a point of where LMM can reignite the fires every year.
Note: Kevin Rowen did a great job earlier this week to help kick off the event, check out his post and join Team LaxAllStars!