When the American Cancer Society approached Manchester Essex High School Athletic Director Kelly Porcaro with the idea of holding a Coaches vs. Cancer fund raiser at a sporting event, they knew just the sport and teams to do it.
Given the friendly rivalry the Manchester Essex and Gloucester boys lacrosse teams have formed over the years, and the relationship between Gloucester coach Drew Dominick and Nate Levie; Levie played for Dominick when he was in high school and a former assistant under Dominick at Gloucester, choosing that game to hold the fund raiser was an easy decision.
"We have had a pretty good rivalry over the last few years," Levie said. "The kids know each other as do Drew and I."
The event will take place this Saturday at Hyland Field when Manchester Essex and Gloucester meet in a boys lacrosse clash (7:30 p.m.). Proceeds from the game will be donated to the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Levie and Dominick have been putting the fund raiser together since mid March, shortly after Porcaro was contacted by the American Cancer Society.
Relay for Life is a fund raising event headed up by the American Cancer Society that works as an overnight relay event where members of teams, comprised of volunteers, take turns walking around a track for the duration of the event. The event, which is held in Gloucester every June and has spread to over 20 countries, is to both raise money for cancer research and patients and spread awareness of the disease.
The event really hits home for both Levie and Dominick.
"Both of my grandmother's had cancer and Drew's father passed away from cancer last year so we wanted to do something for them," Levie said. "It's a really good cause and we are really looking forward to it."
To promote the cause both teams will tape up their lacrosse sticks with pink tape while wearing pink socks and pink warmup shirts. T-shirts will also be sold at the field for $10 with the slogan "Stick it to cancer" written on the back.
The game is also an important clash for both teams as both could looking for its first win of the season Saturday as Manchester Essex currently sits at 0-4 and Gloucester 0-3. Both Manchester Essex and Gloucester have games Thursday against Haverhill and Swampscott respectively.
Levie says this is the type of event that both teams are hoping to continue in the future.
"It's for a really good cause," Levie said. "Hopefully it goes well and if it does it's something we would love to do again."