February 12, 2007

Cornell Clinic Helps Children Learn Lacrosse, Fight Disease

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Central New York youth lacrosse players were given a rare opportunity yesterday when they had the chance to learn from and play with Cornell lacrosse players in a program entitled “Clinic for a Cause.” The clinic, held yesterday in the Ramin Room in Bartels Hall, benefited the Dream Factory of New York through the Save the Day program. Men’s lacrosse seniors Matt Robbins and Matt McMonagle helped to organize the event.

“This clinic is great for us, great for the Save the Day program and great for these kids,” Robbins said.
[img_assist|nid=21300|title=Help us out|desc=Seniors Matt McMonagle and Matt Robbins inherited the Save the Day program this year, which benefits children suffering from chronic illnesses.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=75]

The Save the Day program, now in its third year, was started after Cornell goaltender Kyle Miller ’05 was diagnosed with bone cancer in his leg. The cancer was caught in time and removed, and after a long recovery, Miller was able to return to the University in the fall of 2003 and eventually played six games during the 2005 season. Inspired by Miller, teammates Ian Rosenberger ’04 and David Pittard ’04 decided to create the Save the Day program in the summer of 2003 in order to help children suffering from chronic diseases. They allied themselves with The Dream Factory, which is a national organization that grants wishes to critically ill children age three through 18. The Dream Factory has 30 chapters across the country and employs more than 5,000 volunteers.

“Over the course of the three years of the program, we were able to grant a couple dreams,” Robbins said. “For example, we were able to help one kid out who couldn’t ride a bike. We helped get him a bike that he could use with his hands.”

McMonagle and Robbins will take over this year after helping out Joe Boulukos ’06 and Cam Marchant ’06 last year.

“We are seniors, so we took over this year,” McMonagle said. “We tried to organize this the best that we could.”

This year, people will decide to donate a certain amount of money to the Dream Factory for every save that the Cornell goalies make throughout the season. The Tomkins Trust Company specifically has agreed to pay $10 for every save.

“Tompkins Trust helps us out a lot with the paperwork,” Robbins said. “They are a huge supporter of the program.”

In addition, all proceeds from the Clinic for a Cause will go to the Dream Factory.

“We know that there are a lot of kids in the area who play lacrosse and follow Cornell lacrosse, so we thought that this would be a great way to help them out,” Robbins said. “Learn about lacrosse and getting taught by Cornell lacrosse players is a great way to help raise money for this cause.”

This is the first year of the Clinic for a Cause. An estimated 45 youths ranging from first to ninth-graders participated in the clinic. Youth programs around central New York were represented.

“Just talking to the parents, there are kids from all over, including Ithaca, Syracuse, Skaneateles, and even Binghamton, who made the drive here to support this,” Robbins said.

During the clinic, there were two sessions — one for first to fourth graders and one for fifth to ninth graders. Almost all the members of the lacrosse team were in attendence.

“The first couple of years of the program were really successful,” McMonagle said. “This year, we decided to diversify a little bit. We wanted to help out the community and make some money for the program.”

Every participant yesterday donated $30 to the Dream Factory, and Robbins says that he expects that the Clinic for a Cause will raise over $1,000 for the Dream Factory.

Save the Day also will team up with the American Red Cross to sponsor its second annual blood drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow in the Biotechnology Building room G10.