When members of the Jackson girls lacrosse teams take the field, they carry a very special legacy with them

When members of the Jackson girls lacrosse teams take the field, they carry a very special legacy with them.

Friday, members of the varsity team donned special pink headbands as a tribute to Jackson graduate Stefanie Spielman who lost her 10-year battle to breast cancer in November of 2009. It was a show of strength, a display of love and proof that the fight is far from over.

In fact, for the lacrosse teams, that fight is just beginning.

Brenda Rea, who serves as secretary for the lacrosse booster club, spearheaded the efforts to support the cancer research fund established in Stefanie Speilman’s name through the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Hospital.

“It makes me proud to represent Stefanie,” Rea said of her friend. “She was a great person, highly involved in Jackson. … When she got cancer, she took it upon herself that God had chosen her to spread the word about cancer.”

The pink headbands, designed and distributed by Heads Up Bands, do just that. They’re a subtle reminder that a whole new generation is backing Spielman’s cause.

Head girls lacrosse coach Elizabeth McCormick said the philanthropic effort was a small one for her team, but one that really allowed the generous hearts of her players to shine.

“For teenagers in general … it’s all about ‘me.’ Part of playing a sport is learning that it’s not all about you. It’s about everybody else and about coming together for a greater cause,” McCormick said. “…  I don’t think you are ever too young to start with philanthropy. They are starting to realize how important it is to reach out to those who are less-fortunate.”

Those lessons of serving others didn’t begin or end with the varsity squad.

Dozens of Jackson youth lacrosse players jumped on board to show love and support for Stefanie. Students at all grade levels opted to purchase the headbands and wear them during matches.

Proceeds from sale of the headbands were donated by Heads Up Bands to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. Rea estimates that Jackson’s lacrosse teams provided $1,600 to the fund through the purchase of the headbands.

“I think this is a great contribution,” Rea said, noting it makes her proud to see the young ladies “standing behind Stefanie’s cause.”

“That was (Stefanie’s) purpose,” Rea added, “to help raise money and find a cure. Ten years later, we are still fighting that battle for her, even though she is gone.”

For more information about Heads Up Bands or to purchase one of the Spielman Bands, visit www.headsupbands.com.

For more about the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research and the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Patient Assistance visit http://cancer.osu.edu/waystogive.