This fall the Williams College field hockey team has dedicated its season to the memory of Elizabeth Minter and her dream called, "Elizabeth's Hope."
Elizabeth Minter was a close friend of Eph field hockey player Annie Longobardo growing up in Westchester County, NY. When it came time for college Elizabeth headed west to Denison University in Granville, Ohio and Annie came to Williams.
Upon returning home after the 2010 fall semester Elizabeth's parents noticed that Elizabeth was not her usual active self and they scheduled a complete physical for her. At first all of the test results seemed fine, but a few days later her doctor called to tell Elizabeth to come in immediately for an MRI. Her CAT Scan was abnormal.
The MRI revealed that Elizabeth had a rare form of inoperable brain cancer -- gliomatosis cerebri. As she battled her condition Elizabeth Minter created Elizabeth's Hope, a foundation to raise funds for brain cancer research. So inspiring were Elizabeth's efforts that her doctor, Jeffrey Greenfield, began a research initiative called The Children's Brain Tumor Project, which receives funds from Elizabeth's Hope.
Longobardo, a junior defender on the Eph has spearheaded the Ephs' involvement with Elizabeth's Hope. This Sunday before the game with Connecticut College Longobardo will address the crowd and urge all those in attendance to support Elizabeth's Hope.
Currently the Eph project is raising money through pledges from fans, parents and friends who are contributing for each goal scored by Williams this season. It is hoped that Sunday's pre-game recognition of Elizabeth's Hope will increase awareness and financial support.
"I am so lucky to have such incredible teammates that when I brought the idea to them they all immediately wanted to help," noted Longobardo. "I think it is because we are all really close, and so if something is important to one of us, the rest of us take it on. It was also easy because one of our captains (Casey Greene) best friend's from high school knew Liz in college, so Casey was also able to help me convey the importance of what we are doing."
"I think how the team thinks about this fundraiser is that it is a bonus to our goal for the season that coach Alix Barrale wants us to keep in mind - to score as many goals as possible," Longobardo added. "It just fits in perfectly because everyone knows that when we score those goals we are also raising money for a great cause."
"Annie's caring nature is evident on and off the field," said Alix Barrale. "She deserves all the credit for rallying our team to support Elizabeth's Hope. Her love for Liz fueled her desire and determination to bring this event to Williams and help promote awareness for brain cancer research."
"I wish that the team had known Liz personally so they could call on thoughts of her and her struggle firsthand," Longobardo stated. But I really tried to convey to them what a special person she was -- Liz wanted to help as many people as she could, and she remained so positive throughout her illness in a way that was truly impressive. I hope that seeing the impact Liz's story has on me has allowed the team to understand this, and knowing what caring people they are I really think they get it and fully embrace it!"