Members of several Ohio State teams participated in LLS 'Light the Night' and JDRF 'Walk for the Cure' events last weekend
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Student-athletes from several Ohio State teams laced up their shoes last weekend to participate in two Columbus-area walks.
Members of the rowing, field hockey and men's soccer teams walked in the 'Light the Night' event hosted by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Saturday night at Fred Beekman Park on the Ohio State campus.
The men's soccer Buckeyes had a personal and immediate connection to the walk. They wanted to honor their freshman goalkeeper Matt Lampson, a Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor. Sam Scales, a junior on the squad, organized the team.
"We heard about this event and thought it would be a great opportunity to honor Matt, acknowledge everything that he has been through and make our own small effort to help find a cure," Scales said. "You cannot help but respect Matt for his perseverance and determination."
Lampson's recovery from lymphoma was not only a cause his soccer teammates picked up, but also motivated the field hockey team to become involved. Keegan Billick spotted the event on a calendar and talked to Scales about getting involved. Billick had walked in Light the Night while in high school because a friend's father had been affected, and was proud to take part in it again.
"It is obviously important for us to support these causes," Billick said. "It is something we can take part in and bring us together as a team."
For the rowing team, another personal connection has motivated the Buckeyes to get involved to with many cancer fundraisers. Last spring, Erika Benford's mother passed away after battling breast cancer. The team rallied around her and has become so engaged in cancer fundraisers, they have split into groups to spread their participation around at various events.
"Everyone was smiling and there was music playing, so I really had a good time and was excited to be there," Kristin DiJosie said about participating in Light the Night. "The lighted balloons gave a good visual of how many people were there and involved and helping for an important cause."
Along with the LLS walk, for which they raised $1,200, members of the rowing team will be walking in the 'Making Strides against Breast Cancer' event hosted by the American Cancer Society, Oct. 25 in downtown Columbus.
On Sunday, the baseball and men's basketball teams greeted people at Ohio Stadium who took part in 'Walk for the Cure' for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The men's basketball was made aware of juvenile diabetes over a decade ago when one of the team's boosters had a daughter with it. Although the team did not take part in the actual walk, the Buckeyes welcomed walkers at the event and entertained them, signing autographs and interacting with the participants.
Cory Kovanda, a senior infielder on the baseball team, knows what it is like to live with diabetes so the importance of the event hit home. He was happy to attend the Walk for the Cure with teammates, including D.J. Hanlin whose brother has diabetes, and interact with the participants.
"It was a cool experience," Kovanda said. "I have diabetes, but I had never really thought about raising awareness or supporting it through walks. We thought this would be a good effort to support. We were amazed at how many people were there and it was cool to help raise awareness."
For more information on the events and organizations mentioned above, please visit the following Web sites:
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: www.lls.org
Light the Night Walk: www.lightthenight.org
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation: www.jdrf.org
Walk for the Cure: www.walk.jdrf.org
American Cancer Society, Making Strides against Breast Cancer: www.cancer.org
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