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16th Annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival set for April 23

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Radnor – The 16th annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Fest, which has grown into the largest one-day high school lacrosse festival in the United States, will be held April 23 at Radnor High School.

A total of 54 varsity teams will be playing (26 premier boys’ teams and 28 premier girls’ teams on six fields running simultaneously), as well as wheelchair rugby, tennis and basketball games and youth games.

The event routinely draws more than 10,000 fans, and includes nore than 20 vendors, more than 50 major sponsors and two FanZones with rides, bounces, rock walls, face painting, BBQ, funnel cakes, raffle prices, clothing and equipment.

More than $132,000 was raised in 2015 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 $1.7 million has been distributed to charities benefiting medical research and providing care for people with spinal cord injuries– research (43 percent), patient care (46 percent) and quality of life (11 percent).

Featured highlights

*  27 premier boys’ and girls’ league-sanctioned regular season games and  several youth team games

*  Six fields running simultaneously from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

*  Disabled athletes demonstrating wheelchair tennis, basketball  and rugby games.

*  Families from all over the mid-Atlantic region enjoying games, rides, boutiques, face-painters, balloon artists, great raffle prizes, plenty of food and of course, great lacrosse.  There will be two FanZones which will have “Katie’sKiddieKorner” for younger fans- with clowns and balloon designs,  a Mechanical Bull, Rock Climbing Wall,  moonbounces, music, and visits from Hershey characters

* Food vendors in each Fan Zone.

* Boutiques in both Fan Zones guarantee a shopping opportunity for all – including the latest lacrosse clothing and gear at great Fest prices.

* In support of local lacrosse legend John Christmas’ foundation LEAPS (Lacrosse Education Attitude Perseverance Success), we are asking Fest attendees to clear out their basement of used lacrosse equipment, and to PLEASE bring it to the Fest, dropping it off at either entrance. This will provide countless opportunities for inner city kids to learn and experience the great sport of lacrosse through John’s passionate efforts.

The cause

The Katie Samson Foundation 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 Katie 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.

The inspiration

Katie 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, she 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.

Event Details

The high school games will begin at 9 a.m. All of the games will be played at Radnor High School.  The festival website, www.katiesamsonlaxfest.com, has an amazing inspirational video, the full schedule as well as all the other details.  Or visit the Festival on Facebook – Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival.  A $10 ($5 for students/under age 3 is free) admission fee allows unlimited access to all activities and rides within the two Fan Zones.

Supporting the festival offers an opportunity to do something meaningful and historic to impact the lives of people affected by spinal cord injuries.  The Katie Samson Foundation is a 501©3 corporation located at 522 Brookside Avenue, St David’s, PA 19087.  All donations are tax deductible.  Contact one of the two Co-Directors of Development, Courtney Cambpell or Krissy Brown at courtneycampbell91@gmail.com and kirssy_brown@mac.com respectively or call 610-688-1606 with any questions.

The boys’ varsity games are as follows:
9 a.m. – Shipley School vs. Germantown Academy (Prevost Field), Archbishop Carroll vs. Upper Merion (Loop), Harriton vs. Academy of The New Church (Creek)
11 a.m. – Radnor vs. Downingtown East (Prevost), Lower Merion vs. Emmaus (Loop), St. Joseph’s Prep vs. St. Augustine Prep (Creek).
1 p.m. – Haverford School vs. Brunswick School (Prevost), Central Bucks South vs. Springfield (Loop), Malvern Prep vs. Hun School (Creek).
3 p.m. – Avon Grove vs. Conestoga (Prevost), Garnet Valley vs. Downingtown West (Loop), Episcopal Academy vs. Hill School (Creek).
4 p.m. – Spring Ford vs. Upper Dublin (Turf1/Enke).

The girls’ varsity games are as follows:
9 a.m. – Harriton vs. Notre Dame (Turf1/Enke), Lower Merion vs. Upper Dublin (Library), West Chester Henderson vs. Baldwin School (Rowland)
10:45 a.m. – Haverford High vs. Friends’ Central (Turf1/Enke), Germantown Academy vs. Strath Haven (Library), Boyertown vs. Shipley School (Rowland).
12:30 p.m. – Conestoga vs. Unionville (Turf1/Enke), Penn Charter vs. Hill School (Library), Agnes Irwin vs. Great Valley (Rowland).
2:15 p.m. – Radnor vs. Merion Mercy (Turf1/Enke), Downingtown West vs. Springside-Chestnut Hill (Library), Garnet Valley vs. Episcopal Academy (Rowland).
4 p.m. – Archbishop Carroll vs. Owen J. Roberts (Library), Abington vs. Villa Maria Academy (Rowland).

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