SUMMIT, NJ - More than 4,000 girls from across the United States are expected to come together at New Egypt High School in Ocean County June 28-30 to compete in the LAX For The Cure lacrosse tournament, to raise both awareness and money for the fight against breast cancer. Funds raised will be directed to LAX For The Cure's partners, the North Jersey and Central & South Jersey Affiliates of Susan G. Komen.
In 2012, members of the 198 lacrosse teams, along with parents and supporters, raised $238,000, breaking the previous year’s fundraising record. The tournament also drew a record 164 coaches and recruiters representing the finest college lacrosse programs in the country. In the six years since LAX For The Cure's inception, it has become a popular destination on the summer lacrosse circuit, with the tournament selling-out almost as soon as registration opens. To date, LAX For The Cure has raised over $1 million for Susan G. Komen’s New Jersey Affiliates, most of which goes to fund grants at local non-profit organizations that offer programs in breast health, breast cancer screening, education, treatment support and outreach — specifically, innovative programs not otherwise available to uninsured and medically-under served women and men in the two New Jersey Affiliates’ respective service areas. The balance of the money raised is directed to national breast cancer research programs in pursuit of new screening techniques, better treatment options, and ultimately, a cure. Currently, there are four Komen-sponsored research projects totaling over $1.5 million happening in New Jersey.
The tournament is the brainchild of Jessica Shoulberg, Mendham High School girls lacrosse coach and a director of STEPS Lacrosse, and her husband Charlie Shoulberg, STEPS founder and a former assistant general manager for the men’s U.S. National Lacrosse Team. The inspiration for the tournament came from the notion that, with the growth of girls lacrosse and the summer tournament circuit, there was an opportunity to invent a new tournament concept that would meet the ideals of players, parents, clubs and college coaches, and raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer.
“Everyone remembers how excited we were when a little over six years ago, out of the blue, Charlie and Jessica called us and said they wanted to start a girls’ lacrosse tournament that would raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer," said Jennifer Griola, executive director of the Komen North Jersey affiliate. At the time, I don’t think anyone imagined — not even the Shoulbergs — that in just five years LAX For The Cure would raise over $1 million. Jessica and Charlie are so modest, but what they have accomplished is extraordinary. The money they raise is helping us save the lives of countless women and men in New Jersey, not to mention bringing us ever closer to the day when researchers will finally find a cure. It has been such a wonderful partnership for us.”
“The amount they raise is more than impressive, it’s astounding,” said Nancy Healey, executive director of the Komen South & Central Jersey Affiliate. “And it continues to grow, year after year, as does the number of teams, young women and parents who want to give back by participating. But LAX For The Cure is not just about raising money; it’s about increasing breast cancer awareness among thousands of people and spreading the message that early detection saves lives, which is at the very heart of the Komen mission. Our share of what LAX For The Cure raises goes to support mammograms for women who can’t afford them, so everyone involved is helping us to save lives. We are eternally grateful to Charlie and Jessica, and to all who participate in LAX For The Cure, for the incredible dedication to our cause."