Lions Relay The Message
Men's water polo to be a part of Relay for Life on LMU campus starting Friday, raising awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society.
March 17, 2010
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -For more than a decade, the LMU water polo programs, under the guidance of Head Coach John Loughran, have become a team that opponents hate to play. Just ask UCLA who was pushed to overtime by the men's team in the national semifinals this past December, barely surviving in overtime, only to be so gassed the next day and flat in the national title game.
The teams have embodied their coach, giving everything they have in becoming one of the top programs in the nation.
But the pool hasn't been their best fight this season, just ask their coach, who was diagnosed with Acute Promyeloctyic Leukemia (APL) just three weeks after the NCAA semifinals.
"What this team has done, what they have done as individuals, goes far beyond any sport. And this is not about me. It is what they do for others, so willingly, with one another, inspiring others. It is beyond description," said Loughran, who is in his third of four rounds of chemotherapy and continues to make strides towards being back on the pool deck come August.
Since Loughran was hospitalized on Christmas Day of 2009, the men's water polo team and many others in the water polo community have taken a large role in giving much needed blood and platelets, while becoming registered to donate bone marrow - all of which are much needed in the fight against APL. In addition, through the efforts of assistant water polo coach Cara Colton, speaker Gina Cousineau was brought to campus to talk about the importance of blood, blood platelet, bone marrow, and organ donations.
That fight continues this weekend when LMU and the men's water polo team will host a Relay for Life event starting at 12 noon on Friday and running 24 hours through Saturday at 12 noon. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.
At LMU's Relay, the men's team and others across campus and others among the water polo community - including water polo players from school rival Pepperdine - will take turns walking or running around the perimeter of Hannon Field. Part of the Relay is that the team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.
The event will run along the same time as the women's water polo LMU Invitational, a 16-game tournament that begins on Friday at 8 a.m., and runs through Saturday. Fans interested in assisting in raising funds through Relay for Life are encouraged to get information at the ticket table or head across the street to Hannon Field.
Those looking to donate and support the LMU Relay can do so online at the Relay For Life website. All raised funds go to the American Cancer Society for the fight against cancer.
"At LMU we talk about the development of the whole person," said Loughran. "I have been so fortunate to see first hand our students, student-athletes and others within the LMU community embody that spirit. That is what should be known about these guys. This should not be about me, but about what they have done."