“It’s an honor to be asked to build something for anyone under normal circumstances, but simply knowing that people will enjoy your art is what makes me go into the wood shop every day. Jake Hanley’s story stood out for obvious reasons. I wanted this young man to enjoy his lacrosse cane and to not see it as a burden.”
– Justin Skaggs
When Jake Hanley was feeling pain in his right leg, his parents equated it to growing pains since he was 6’2″ at 15 years old. However, the pain continued and something didn’t sit right with Mom and Dad, so they took him to see the doctor. Jake was diagnosed with a form of osteosarcoma that usually affects kids that grow at a rapid rate. Surgery was scheduled to replace his knee and remove part of his femur.
When his father Tim contacted us at Elite Performance Lacrosse we wanted to do whatever we could to cheer Jake up. The first thing we decided to do was to dedicate the next full year of play to Jake. Lacrosseballstore.com came through and donated helmet stickers for all of the players. Next, came Dubs with a sick Johnny Cash (Jake’s favorite) dyed head that was hand delivered by the man himself. One Instagram message later and Lumber Lax had a matching custom shaft in the mail to go with Jake’s new head.
Things were going great. Jake had a successful surgery at UNC, got a visit from some Tarheel players, and even Duke Coach John Danowski with some players in tow braved the UNC hospital to talk lacrosse and cheer Jake up. Jake was doing great until his knee replacement started to hurt. Turns out he had an infection and had to have the entire knee replaced again.
I knew he had a long road to recovery and getting around would be difficult. I was inspired by football great Jim Brown’s lacrosse cane when I contacted Justin over at Wood Lacrosse Sticks to see if he could create something similar for Jake. I figured if he was going to need help walking, why not do it in style. Justin came through clutch with a beautifully created lacrosse cane just for Jake.
I am happy to report that Jake is cancer free and getting around great with his new lacrosse cane. What makes me proud to be part of the lacrosse community is that not one of these businesses asked for payment, or said they were too busy. Everyone did what they could to bring a smile to a sick child. What makes lacrosse such an amazing sport are the people that are all connected through their love of this game.