Desert Vista High School’s lacrosse team does more than play games.
For the last nine years under the leadership of Head Coach Dan Lannon, team members have held a fall fundraiser that has raised more than $40,000 for various charitable activities.
Recently the team presented a $2,500 check to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, part of the proceeds raised at the ninth annual fundraiser called Lax4Life held in December at Tempe Sports Complex.
“Teams of all ages gather annually for fall ball scrimmages the first weekend in December to enjoy same good competition and also raise awareness and money for pediatric cancer,” Lannon said.
Some proceeds also went to the Ability 360 Wheelchair Lacrosse Team and to assistant Thunder lacrosse coach Mike Wein, who has been battling leukemia since he was 2 years old.
Brady Wein’s diagnosis in 2008 prompted Lannon, Wein and assistant coach Dan Bray to start raising money for pediatric cancer care and research.
“The lacrosse community came together to rally and support Mike and his wife Rachel as they began the battle with Brady to fight the cancer,” Lannon said. “Each year the Desert Vista Lacrosse Team rallied volunteers and supplies to pull off this great event.”
“In 2011, Jack Welch, son of Beth and Keith Welch, was also honored at the event as he had recently been diagnosed with leukemia,” Lannon added. “In 2014, Lax4Life also honored DV student Evan Johnson, who was battling bone cancer.”
The event has grown from an original 12 teams to 52 participating teams last year.
“The jamboree is able to raise money from team fees and largely due to the donation of the referee’s fees. The referees are all members of the Arizona Lacrosse Officials Association, which trains and assigns local officials to lacrosse games in Arizona,” Lannon explained.
“We have a great group of parents at Desert Vista that make up our Lax4Life planning committee and many of them stay on the committee long after their sons have graduated and left the team,” he said. “The players all perform community service hours during the day-long event, helping with set up, tear down and doing trash detail during the event.
“Lax4Life has become one the marqee events in the fall for lacrosse in AZ and everyone that participates in it looks forward to the day where there is good fun competition with the feeling of being able to make a positive impact in the community during the holiday season.”
Anyone who wants to help the team can contact firstname.lastname@example.org