STORY BY LESLIE KING // PHOTO BY DAVE CHANDLER // VIDEO BY JESSE PADDOCK
Over the last six years, the Brine King of Spring Face-Off Classic — a lacrosse tournament organized each year by Durham Academy varsity boys lacrosse coach Jon Lantzy — has raised more than $300,000 in support of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Vs. Cancer program.
Due to the pandemic, the Durham-based tournament wasn’t held this year. But Coach Lantzy and Vs. Cancer invited teams across the country to participate in a virtual fundraising challenge, which began on April 1 and was to end June 15.
“It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference,” Lantzy said. “You may not see who it helps, but you’re impacting somebody. Your time and your sacrifices do matter to somebody.”
In a typical year, athletic fields around the Triangle would have been chock full of activity during spring break, as high school lacrosse teams from across the country competed. The King of Spring tournament started as an event with six teams and grew exponentially each year, eventually becoming a signature kickoff event of the high school lacrosse season, with more than 40 teams from around the country competing. In addition to the competition on the field, the team that raised the most money for Vs. Cancer during the tournament had the opportunity to direct a portion of the tournament’s net proceeds to an eligible recipient hospital.
“In the end, the King of Spring is about building our communities, talking with our teams, and we still think we can do that in a meaningful way,” Lantzy explained. “Our goal is [to raise] $150,000. The most we’ve ever done is $90,000. That would push the tournament total over six years [to] over half a million dollars, which is mind-blowing to me. That’s a lot of money.”
This year, the lacrosse team that raises the most money during the virtual tournament will be able to donate 50% of the proceeds to an eligible hospital of their choice.
And for the DA community, it’s personal — cancer and pediatric cancer have touched the DA community in multiple ways. The Class of 2022 and the varsity baseball team (whose teammate Jack Goldstein was successfully treated for leukemia in 2018) have joined the varsity boys lacrosse team in its efforts to raise funds for Vs. Cancer.
“Having gone through this as a family, going through it again as my wife had a cancer recurrence, it matters,” Lantzy said. “I know even in six years since my wife’s initial diagnosis, that the research and advances in medicine and great doctors make a difference.”
Senior lacrosse player Gavin Schulz said the Lantzy family’s situation has put the importance of King of Spring fundraising in clearer focus.
“We tend to forget about these people who are in long-term care, sitting in these hospitals, and just knowing what Coach is going through and the way that the team has rallied around him, it’s the same idea — somebody’s hurting, sick, we want to help them, so I just think it’s really important that we remember those people right now and think about them and we might not know them, but they matter,” he said. “So raising as much money is just the most important thing we can do.”
DA videographer Jesse Paddock worked with Lantzy and Vs. Cancer to create a video about the virtual King of Spring and its impact: bit.ly/2021KingofSpring.
To support the team’s efforts, visit: bit.ly/TeamCureTheKids.