Radnor >> The Katie Samson Foundation (KSF) Lacrosse Festival, celebrating its 17th year, will be held April 29 at Radnor High School. It is the largest single-day high school lacrosse festival in the country, with 54 premier varsity teams (26 boys’ teams and 28 girls’ squads) participating on six fields, running simultaneously.
The Festival, which attracts more than 10,000 fans each year, also features disabled athletes demonstrating wheelchair rugby, tennis and basketball games; youth games; more than 20 vendors; more than 50 major sponsors; and two FanZones which will have “Katie’s Kiddie Korner” for younger fans- with clowns and balloon designs, a Mechanical Bull, Rock Climbing Wall, moon bounces, music, and a visit from the Phillie Phanatic. Games begin at 9 a.m., and will run until approximately 5 p.m. All of the game will be held at Radnor High School.
More than $100,000 was raised at the 2016 Festival, with the support of more than 50 sponsors, donations from attendees, as well as fundraising efforts by each participating lacrosse team. Since 2000, more than $1.8 million has been raised and distributed to charities benefiting medical research and providing care for people with spinal cord injuries– patient care (46 percent), research (43 percent), and quality of life (11 percent).
KSF raises money for research to identify a cure for spinal cord injuries and to optimize care and quality of life for spinal cord patients. The foundation also promotes social awareness as the lacrosse community comes together to support the festival. Through Samson’s courage and perseverance, her foundation has successfully raised funds to support spinal cord injury research and rehabilitation programs that provide much needed independence and quality of life improvements for those with spinal cord injuries.
Samson grew up in Wayne, and attended Radnor High School, where she was a goalkeeper for the girls’ lacrosse team. She went on to study Art History at Middlebury College, where she also played Division III lacrosse and helped her team capture a national championship in 1999. The following winter Samson suffered a spinal cord injury while sledding and became a quadriplegic.
After months of rehabilitation and encouragement from family and friends, Samson went back to finish her degree and help coach her college team to two more National titles. In 2004, Samson moved to Arizona to pursue her graduate degree, where she remained for six years. She moved back to the Philadelphia area in 2010 and is currently the Assistant Director of Museum Education at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Samson still finds time to play wheelchair sports, such as rugby, tennis and cycling. She also enjoys storytelling as a creative art form and performs for different organizations in Philadelphia. As a peer mentor for people who have suffered spinal cord injury through Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Samson encourages her mentees to seek out adaptive sports and therapeutic programs that have had such a positive effect on her life.
The festival website, www.katiesamsonlaxfest.com, has an inspirational video, the full schedule as well as all the other details. Fans can also visit the festival on Facebook – KSF Lacrosse Festival. A $10 ($5 for students/under 3 is free!) admission fee allows unlimited access to all activities and rides within the two Fan Zones.
The Katie Samson Foundation is a 501©3 corporation. All donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact the Director of Development, Eric Gorman at [email protected]
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