ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The season may have been short, but that did not stop the St. Bonaventure women's lacrosse team from doing its part to support the CJD Foundation and efforts to raise awareness and funds to battle Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
Members of the team raised $4,469 for the CJD Foundation, going toward research of the rare and fatal neurological disease affecting one person in every million people per year -- which is around 500 US cases a year. During the 2019 season, Bona rising senior Jessica Losquadro tragically lost her father Michael Losquadro to the disease. As of today, there is no known cure or treatment for those with CJD.
"We are so grateful to the St. Bonaventure women's lacrosse team and their supporters for the funds they've raised to support our mission," said Debbie Yobs, President and Executive Director of the CJD Foundation. "It was inspiring to see these passionate young people take up the cause, and support those who are desperately seeking treatment and a cure for CJD."
To raise money, team members organized a fundraiser website that accepted donations going directly toward the CJD Foundation during the spring. The team also set up an online store where supporters could purchase apparel with CJD Foundation and Bonnies lacrosse logos.
At Bona's Feb. 21 home game, which turned out to be the only contest held on home turf this year, the Bonnies wore special purple warm-up shirts with the CJD Foundation logo and accepted donations from fans. The team had planned similar events at future home games prior to the spring sports shutdown.
The initiative came about after Losquadro discovered there is no treatment or cure for the disease following the passing of her father in April 2019.
"I suggested the idea of a fundraiser game to my teammates," she said. "I can't even put into words how it feels to know that not only me, but my whole family has the support of the school, my teammates, and even their families and friends. My family and I are incredibly thankful for everyone who was able to donate and spread the word about this foundation. I can't wait to see what more we can do in the following year, and hopefully years to come, as we continue raising awareness CJD."
While the initiative holds a special meaning for Losquadro, her teammates also embraced the fundraisers as a show of support. With an initial goal of $1,000 established, the team was able to crush that early plan.
"I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to help organize this fundraiser for the CJD Foundation alongside Jess and Coach Levesque," said rising senior Savannah Clarke, who helped Losquadro bring together the initiative. "I'm extremely proud of how invested all of our teammates were into advocating for the cause. We were blown away by the generosity of everyone who donated; with their help, we quadrupled our goal. I can only imagine how much more we would've achieved if we were able to finish our fundraiser (had the season not been shutdown due to COVID-19)."
The team hopes to continue raising funds for the CJD Foundation during the 2021 season.
"This cause and this foundation is near and dear to our hearts as one of our own has tragically experienced this disease firsthand," Bonnies head coach Jason Levesque said. "I am extremely proud of the young women within our program for stepping up and supporting the way they did. As well, their respective friends and families and all those who took on this task, supported our team through the campaign and helped to raise funds must also be commended. We can't thank everyone enough. Hopefully next year we can raise more money to assist the CJD Foundation to help those affected by this terrible disease."
Members of the St. Bonaventure women's lacrosse team wear special CJD Foundation shirts that are dedicated to the memory of Michael Losquadro.
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