In November, the #Shots4Stew campaign was launched to support one of the game’s legends.
Stew Curran is one of the most successful lacrosse coaches in Massachusetts history, with a ridiculous amount of accolades and accomplishments to his name, including three Massachusetts state championships, the 2009 Boston Globe Coach of the Year, helping found Hull’s youth lacrosse program and serving as its director for years and much more.
But now he faces his greatest challenge.
In mid-October, the Curran family came together for a long weekend. Stew was going to drive the family into the city, and his offspring awaited him downstairs. But it was taking a while, so they went up to check on him. They found Stew collapsed on the ground.
A hospital trip and several tests later, Stew Curran was diagnosed with partially methylated glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer.
“A lot of tears at random times,” Vin Curran, Stew’s son, explained.
The initial blow of the diagnosis was difficult for the family to take emotionally, Vin Curran said, but the sarcastic and humorous nature of the family eventually took over. Stew Curran began chemotherapy, which caused him to lose enough hair for his family to dub him as “Friar Tuck.” Recently, Stew has been growing out his beard to even out the hair loss.
“He has a little bit less hair than he did before. He always had a good head of hair,” Vin Curran said. “He’s growing out his beard so he doesn’t look like Bruce Willis, which is good. We don’t want him to look like Bruce Willis.”
As the Curran family worked to cope with the situation, PrimeTime Lacrosse did what it could to help. Years ago when the company was beginning, Stew Curran provided its young entrepreneurs with invaluable guidance. Now years later, PrimeTime Lacrosse is paying it forward.
“Stew has been a mentor and friend to all of us for so many years,” PrimeTime Lacrosse co-founder Tyler Low said. “More than anything else, he has taught me perspective, and showed me how secondary the X’s and O’s are to the impact that we can make on the lives of the young people that we coach. A lot of people call or text and check in after a big win or when a season is going well. Stew is the first one to call when things aren’t going as well. His selflessness is such an incredibly rare trait. When he is talking to you, you never feel like he is on the way to do something else, or trying to get off the phone. He truly gives everything he has to the people in his life.”
PrimeTime Lacrosse co-founder Jason Wellemeyer shared a similar sentiment.
“Stew has been such a huge part of my life that it’s really hard for me to express how much he has contributed to who I am today,” Wellemeyer explained. “I went to high school with his middle son, Garrett, and did nothing but live for lacrosse. Stew was kind enough to take me to my first NCAA Final Four at Rutgers with his family, and I still have very fond memories to this day. After college, he allowed me to be on his coaching staff at Cohasset High School, where we went on to win the state Championship. There are too many things for me to recount, but I would not be where I am today if Stew had not come into my life as a friend and mentor.”
With such a strong impact on both of them and their endeavors at the suggestion of PrimeTime Lacrosse’s National Events Director Spencer Low, the entire PrimeTime Lacrosse team began the #Shots4Stew campaign in November to raise money for cancer care and research on Stew Curran’s behalf.
“PrimeTime wouldn’t exist without Stew,” Tyler Low said. “I am honestly overwhelmed with the feeling of gratitude I have when I think back to where we were 12 years ago and how Stew helped to get the business off the ground. When I think about who we are and the role we want to play in the lives of the kids involved in PrimeTime Lacrosse, he shaped all of that.”
The way it works is simple: pick your sport (it doesn’t have to be lacrosse), call your shot, and choose your donation. Take however many tries it takes you to hit your goal and multiply it by your pledged donation amount. For example, if you say you’ll hit the crossbar and pledge $10 per shot, and it takes you five attempts, then you donate $50. All money goes to The Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where Stew Curran is receiving treatment. Make sure to use #Shots4Stew as your explanation for your donation, then name your crew to follow in your footsteps!
#Shots4Stew started with the PrimeTime Lacrosse team recording itself taking shots and pledging donations to the cause while nominating others in the lacrosse community to do the same. Over the weeks, the movement has grown.
Plenty of others in lacrosse have participated in #Shots4Stew, including Joe Nardella, Top Gun Fighting Clams, Thayer Academy Lacrosse, and a number of youth, high school, and college players and coaches.
The outpouring of support for Stew and his family, from #Shots4Stew to personal messages from friends, players he coached and everything in between has been powerful for him and his family.
“There have been so many people who have reached out, sent things, #Shots4Stew,” Vin Curran said. “For my dad, it’s humbling. He’s taking stock in what he’s done in his 60-odd years. He’s touched a lot of people.”
It has given Vin pause to consider the sacrifices his parents made for him as a child and continue to make for him as an adult. These are things that you can’t comprehend completely as a child, he said.
“He used to drive me to random hockey practices. I sucked at hockey, I was terrible, and he would still do it,” Vin Curran explained. “I wasn’t going to the NHL, I wasn’t doing anything. But it was a life experience for me.”
That aligns with the message Vin Curran would like to deliver to the lacrosse community after going through this experience.
“I think a lot of young men in our sport can do a better job of appreciating what our parents do for us, if we’re lucky enough to have them, because some people aren’t,” he said. “I think we truly need to look our parents in the eyes, shake our dad’s hands, hug our moms, and tell them thank you for what they’re doing, thank you for sacrificing for me, thank you for putting me here, and thank you for this opportunity.”
Stew Curran Lacrosse Bio
As the head coach at Cohasset High School for seven years in the 2000s, Stew Curran led the program to three Division III state championships, two runners up finishes and two more semifinal appearances, earning South Shore Coach of the Year honors in 2006, 2007 and 2008, plus Boston Globe Coach of the Year recognition in 2009. He was named the 2014 Boston-Lax Coach of the Year while coaching Thayer Academy after taking the program to its first Independent School League Champions in 25 years.
Before that, Stew Curran, who grew up in Framingham, Massachusetts, also coached at the youth level, helping to found Hull’s youth lacrosse program and serving as its director from 2001 to 2006. He coached the South Shore in the Bay State Games from 2002 to 2005, and was a clinician and team coach with New England Select Lacrosse from 2004 to 2007. In 2007 and 2008, he acted as a member of the US Lacrosse Men’s U19 Selection Committee.
Prior to it all, though, Stew Curran was a lacrosse player, starting all four years at Plymouth State University and earning All-New England honors twice. In 1979 and 1980, he represented the United States as a member of the Team USA Box Lacrosse team.