CARTHAGE The lacrosse community again showed its tradition of rallying around its members on Friday in Carthages second annual fundraiser to help former players in need.
This year, proceeds of the event, which included four alumni games, went to assist former Carthage High School players Sara Gallagher and Travis Ames.
Gallagher continues in her recovery after suffering spinal cord injuries last August while Ames is fighting testicular cancer.
Theyre out there battling, Carthage boys lacrosse coach Kirk Ventiquattro said. Thats what we teach here in the boys and girls programs at Carthage is to battle. And these two people are in the toughest battles in their lives, so were here to support them.
Ventiquattro is fighting the battle himself, learning last summer that he had prostate cancer, and his players showed their support by wearing special blue jerseys during games this past season.
Its great how everybody is there for people here, Sara Gallagher said. Carthage is all about lacrosse.
Ames, a 2003 Carthage graduate, began his battle last November when it was discovered he had cancer in his abdomen and luckily it had not spread to bones, the brain or any other vital organs, he said. He has since undergone eight rounds of chemotherapy.
Its just been a long journey so far, Ames said, and theres definitely light at the end of the tunnel.
After some further tests, Ames is hoping to undergo several stem cell transplants to help in his struggle against the cancer.
Its going to take a lot out of me, Ames said. Its basically going to be taking information out of my body from the stem cells and from my blood that hopefully will help in fighting the cancer.
After starring with the Comets, Ames went on to win a national championship with Le Moyne University, where his older brother Trevor did as well.
Its amazing, Travis Ames said about Fridays turnout at the high school field. You never realize how much support you have until you experience something like this and how much everybody cares. I really appreciate everyone showing up today.
A 2005 graduate who went on to star at Jefferson Community College, Sara Gallagher was injured in an ATV accident last summer. Suffering brain trauma and spinal cord injuries, she underwent surgery last August and was walking with the use of canes as she attended Fridays event.
Things have gone pretty well, said Gallagher, who took part in last years girls alumni game at Carthage. Im very fortunate for everything that Ive gotten back with my recovery and I have high hopes for the future.
Gallagher recently returned from Georgia where she underwent extension rehabilitation.
Saras doing awesome, said Erin Gallagher, who played on the varsity team with her sister Sara when Sara was a freshman. She has very high spirits and she gets better every day. Shes very focused on what she needs to do and I think shes doing really well. She can drive her car now, which gives her some independence and shes walking really well.
Its a long recovery, said Sara Gallagher, who undergoes physical therapy on a daily basis. Im very pleased where I am right now, but Im going to continue to work hard and strive to continue in my recovery.
The girls game was won by the alumni, 11-4, and included Carthage alumni such as Kat DeRonda (Northwestern), Colleen DeRonda (UConn), Amy Turner (UMass) and Gabbi Kamide (Le Moyne).
While each Ames brother, including Trent, wore No. 9 in their playing days at Carthage, the Gallagher sisters wore No. 11 at the school.
Weve had an Ames brother wear No. 9 for us for quite a few years, with one handing the jersey to the next, Ventiquattro said.
The boys alumni game, which ended in a 9-9 draw, included Trevor Ames, Jason Coffman (Salisbury State), Gil Pearsall (Penn State), Tony Ventiquattro (UMass) and Thomas Grimm (currently attending Syracuse).
Its great to have the support and all the fans and everyone here supporting Travis and I, said Sara Gallagher, its great to see. This brings back a lot of memories in lacrosse.
Red and white T-shirts were sold at the alumni games. The shirts were emblazoned with Amess and Gallaghers respective uniform numbers.
I know were sharing this with Sara Gallagher and her terrible situation, said Travis Ames, its nice to see everybody together here from the great school of Carthage with former and present players. Its also a fun game to watch.
Last years lacrosse fundraiser raised $5,000.
This is a really nice turnout and its great to see, said Carthage girls lacrosse coach Sue Gallagher, who founded the program and is Saras and Erins mother.
Its awesome for everybody to get back together like this, Erin Gallagher added. Its great to have an event like this for Sara and Travis and it shows how strong our community is.