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Hudson -- Members of the varsity and junior varsity squads of the Hudson High School boys lacrosse teams took the field May 9 in a combined effort to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House of Akron and support a local child with cancer.
And while the team earned a 19-5 win over Medina at Hudson Memorial Stadium, the smiles in the stands meant more to some than the score.
"Friday night [May 9] was special," said Sue Malson, whose son Logan is a senior on the team. "In conjunction with Hudson Youth Lacrosse Night at the Varsity game, the Hudson boys junior varsity and varsity lacrosse teams kicked off their Play for Maryanne fundraiser."
Malson and Sue Nye, whose son, Zach is also a member of the lacrosse team, co-organized the event.
The "Play for Maryanne" theme was in honor of 3-year-old leukemia patient Maryanne Kirk, who has been an inspiration for the team this year.
"The night began as the Kirk family took the field just before the start of the varsity game," Malson said.
A video was shown introducing Maryanne and the collaboration of her family and the team in their fundraising efforts for RMH of Akron. The video was put together by senior lacrosse player Zach Nye and his brother, Cory, a 2011 Hudson High School graduate and lacrosse alumni.
"Just following the presentation, the family was introduced at center field," Malson said. "Unfortunately, Maryanne had been re-admitted to the hospital that afternoon with complications from her chemo treatments and was not able to join her father, Joe, her Uncle Chris, sister, Audrey, 5, brother, Michael, 6 as they accepted game balls from Coach David Blue and enjoyed cheers and applause from the crowd," Malson said. "It was an incredible way to start the game."
Members of the team chanted "We're playing for you, Maryanne" at the end of the video presentation, according to Malson.
"Her brother and sister proudly waved and yelled 'thank you' to the crowd as they walked off the field and took seats in the stands," Malson said. "It was a beautiful and touching moment for all."
At the game, 16 gift baskets and a variety of other items were raffled off, raising $1,000 for RMH of Akron, Malson said. The baskets were collected and organized by Tricia Lori, whose son, Bo, is a member of the lacrosse team.
"The team sold tickets throughout the night for the basket raffle and took donations for Play for Maryanne bracelets from all who had a heart to participate," Malson added. "As a result of everyone's generosity the team raised another $1000 for the Ronald McDonald House of Akron. It was a huge success and topped the total donation from Hudson Boys Lacrosse to RMH of Akron to over $5,000 this season."
The team volunteered at an April 5K run in Akron and raised the initial $4,000 for RMH of Akron.
"We were honored to take part in this and help raise money for Maryanne and her family," Blue said. "God bless [them]."
Malson said the fundraising efforts were part of the team's "Hudson Lax Giving Back."
"It's hard to thank just a couple people," Malson said. "This great success is realized through the continued support of Coach Blue and the dedication of the team, as well as the many volunteers and generous gifts and donations from the friends, family and community surrounding Hudson lacrosse."
Anne Collins, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Akron said the organization, which is undergoing an expansion from 20 to 60 rooms, appreciates the help.
"They are great. We are thrilled to have the lacrosse team be part of our fundraising efforts," Collins said. "We are very appreciative of everything they do."