Local athletes raise money for spinal cord research

April 27, 2013 7:41:32 PM PDT
When she was a student at Radnor High School, Katie Samson was an avid lacrosse player.

Samson, however, was forced to trade lacrosse for wheelchair rugby, a sport she took up after suffering a spinal cord injury while sledding.

At Samson's Delaware County alma mater on Saturday, hundreds of athletes from more than 50 schools competed in lacrosse and wheelchair sports.

The event was to raise money for the foundation her family founded after her injury.

The participating teams hold fundraisers and donate entry fees to the festival.

"The money goes to the Katie Samson Foundation and it helps support quality of life programs for people who've suffered spinal cord injuries. It also goes to fund research to help find a cure for paralysis and other research endeavors involved with spinal cord injury," said Samson.

The girls from The Hill School sold raffle tickets, chicken sandwiches and cupcakes.

Their coach says that in the process, they learned valuable lessons about sports and determination.

"We really want our girls to walk away understanding everything that Katie went through before her injury as a student athlete and everything that she's been able to give back to the community since," said Lindsey Mulhern.

The competition was tough but many athletes say Samson's story gave them the extra motivation they needed to play their best.

"Her story is really empowering because even though she's paralyzed she still wants to make a difference," said Lulu Cohen.

"I've known about it for little white so it seemed like something I would want to contribute to," said Paul Major.

Fundraising totals aren't in yet for this year's event but so far the Katie Samson Foundation has raised over $1 million with $120,000 last year alone.