Men's lacrosse players shave heads, raise $24,000 for cancer

The North Carolina men’s lacrosse team is in the middle of its offseason, but that hasn’t kept the Tar Heels from taking on one of their biggest opponents to date — cancer.

In honor of women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell, lacrosse coach Joe Breschi and his players have raised more than $24,000 for the Vs. Cancer Foundation.

“I’m just so proud of our team and the money they were able to raise in a short period,” Breschi said. “We live in this bubble as student athletes in Chapel Hill.

“(This) is a time to give back to those people who don’t have the opportunity to do what we’re doing.”

Initially the team’s goal was to raise $5,000, but after easily achieving that goal in very little time, they realized they needed to shoot for more.

The Tar Heels responded by making their goal $10,000, then $20,000.

The number kept rising.

And Breschi said by the end of fundraising, the team didn’t even have a set goal anymore. They were just trying to do whatever they could and ended up raising $24,479.

“Ten years down the road they are going to look back. It may not be a win or a loss,” Breschi said. “It speaks volumes for the student athletes and character guys we’re bringing in here.”

To help gain publicity for the team’s cause at the end of fundraising, numerous players and coaches, including Breschi himself, shaved their heads out in the open in Rams Plaza before UNC’s Homecoming football game Saturday.

With every strand of hair that hit the ground, UNC’s players symbolically proved their commitment to fighting the disease that takes so many lives and affects even more every year.

Some lost more than others Saturday, but no one lost more hair than freshman Tate Jozokos who, prior to his buzzing, boasted hair that flowed all the way down his neck toward his back.

“He was a big part of the fundraising aspect,” redshirt sophomore Joe Costigan said. “I did not think he was going to do it, but after some convincing he shocked everyone.

“Deep down he knows it was for a good cause … He did it for the kids with cancer.”

Jozokos and his teammates may miss their hair, but it was all worth it for the Tar Heels, who won’t stop fighting for their cause — no matter what it is.

“It’s awesome. It says a lot about our team,” freshman Shane Simpson said. “Being lacrosse players a lot of us have a lot of hair … There’s a lot of guys on our team that really love their hair.

“But it’s only hair — it grows back.”

sports@dailytarheel.com

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