The University of Richmond women's lacrosse team has increased its fundraising efforts for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, taking place on Oct. 20.

Seniors Allie Ware and Hayley Ross have been involved in the breast cancer walk since they started at Richmond. This year, the captains decided they would change their approach to fundraising.

As of late September, the lacrosse team has raised approximately $3,000 and is fourth in fundraising out of the 187 participating teams. The fundraiser has raised over $112,000 so far.

"Well, we've fundraised in the past," Ware said. "There is a registration fee, so we've always raised a minimum of $25 per person. This year, we decided that we really wanted to use our platform as student-athletes to make a positive impact. We knew that all of us are capable of raising more than $25, so we set the bar at raising $100 per person." Ross said: "It's all about the challenge for us, too. We wanted to challenge everybody to do [and] raise as much as they could." Some members of the team have raised over $300 so far.

"We've said our team is limitless this year," Ware said, "and this fundraiser goes hand-and-hand with that. We're trying to change the culture of the program and it starts with the little things, both on the field and off of the field."

When the team talks about changing the culture, it begins with the mentality, Ross said. "We feel like we've been just OK with making the conference tournament, and we've been complacent. We really want to compete and hold the program to a higher standard, and instill a winning culture."

"We're more capable than what we think," Ware said. "So it's really about pushing our boundaries and challenging ourselves, especially as women. That is something our coaches have done a great job of preparing us for life after college."

By participating in the walk held on Belvidere Street in downtown Richmond, the lacrosse team is able to honor those affected by breast cancer, while raising awareness and money for the American Cancer Society.

"Our team always has a blast," Ware said. "It's been one of my favorite team traditions. We walk around downtown, so it's fun for the freshmen who haven't necessarily been in the city, and it's near the river, so it's really pretty, and it's such a fun team event."

"There are people who aren't even walking or running in it that just stand on the streets and cheer you on," Ross said. "We get really in to it. Everyone dresses up in pink. Walking three miles for us is something we can definitely do, so our thought process is, 'If it's going to help other people, then why not do it and have fun with it, too?'"

The women's lacrosse team has been fortunate enough not to be directly affected by cancer, but the event has touched the lives of the players.

"I think all of us have been touched by someone with cancer in some way," Ross said. "But the big picture of it all is that as athletes, we are so fortunate to be able to get out there and do our thing on the field--that knowing that there are people out there who can't do that, I think that's what touched us the most. We've all bonded through that." Coach Allison Evans said the team had organized this fundraiser independently from the coaching staff, and although she hasn't had much involvement other than donating, she is proud to be associated with this group of young women.

Evans said she didn't think the team's fundraising abilities would directly correlate with their performance this season, but she was excited about the effects the fundraiser might have on the team.

"I do think the team coming together and supporting one another in a common goal has a positive effect on team chemistry," Evans said. "And that chemistry will inevitably bring about positive changes they are looking to make on the field."

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