Press Release | Apr 16, 2024

100+ Childhood Cancer Family Members Joined the Austin Hatcher Foundation for the 2nd Annual LaCROSSe Out Cancer game at Lee University

By Austin Hatcher Foundation
By The Austin Hatcher Foundation
100+ Childhood Cancer Family Members Joined the Austin Hatcher Foundation for the 2nd Annual LaCROSSe Out Cancer game at Lee University

  • 102 family members had the opportunity to connect over shared experiences 
  • Over $17,000 raised towards providing vital services to families facing pediatric cancer
  • Event presented by Food City

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (April 16, 2024) -  On Sunday, April 7, over 100 individuals from families affected by childhood cancer came out to the 2nd annual LaCROSSe Out Cancer game at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. This community event, presented by Food City, brought together parents, siblings, survivors, and diagnosed children for an afternoon of fellowship, games, food, and fun. The event served as a day of community for these affected families, and a fundraiser for the Foundation, which raised over $17,000 for the Austin Hatcher Foundation to continue to provide mental, emotional, and behavioral health services to families facing childhood cancer. 

Lee lacrosse players pose with Austin Hatcher families after the starting line-up.

The Lee University Women’s Lacrosse team spearheaded the fundraising efforts, raising money and awareness through the Foundation’s Playing for a Purpose program. In addition to their peer-to-peer fundraising, the team had 32 special jerseys made, each with a different name of a childhood cancer patient, survivor, or angel on the back. These special jerseys were worn by the Lee players during the game and were auctioned off to raise additional funds for the Foundation.

Lee defender Jamey Ryan (left)wears Wynn's name on her jersey and poses with Wynn's mom (right)

“The names on our jerseys are so much more than names; they are real, inspiring, superheroes,” said Jamey Ryan, Lee Lacrosse defender. “We knew we were playing for a bigger purpose, but to meet the affected children and their families made it all the more powerful. I had the honor of wearing “Wynn” on my jersey, a beautiful girl who passed away last year due to childhood cancer. I got to meet Wynn’s mom, wear purple for Wynn, and hear her story and the ways the Austin Hatcher Foundation has helped their family. It was such an honor and privilege to wear Wynn’s name on my jersey, and I’m so thankful to be fundraising for an organization like the Austin Hatcher Foundation which does such great work for these families navigating the childhood cancer journey.” 

The 102 Austin Hatcher Foundation family members in attendance got to meet the players, walk out with them for the starting lineup, play lacrosse with them at halftime, and enjoy a delicious Fazoli’s lunch during the game, with cookies from Publix. But the real treasure of the afternoon was connecting with the other families in attendance, bonding, and building relationships with others who have walked a similar journey, as well as connecting with the Foundation’s licensed clinical staff. Community events like LaCROSSe Out Cancer serve as a form of Diversionary Therapy, allowing families to make lasting connections with other families who understand the unique challenges they face while enjoying a fun afternoon with their own family. 

Lee goalie Kaleigh Bernard poses with AHF family at halftime

“It is because of my involvement with the Austin Hatcher Foundation that I have connected with other ‘angel moms’ in the area which has led to so many other avenues of healing for me,” said Anna Eady, mother of childhood cancer angel Wynn, and sibling Audrey. “Audrey has also met so many other children who are affected by childhood cancer, or kids who are a sibling affected by pediatric cancer like her. All services have been completely FREE, but the price for us is invaluable.”

The Austin Hatcher Foundation provides 100%-free, comprehensive, coordinated care through evidence-based therapies, counseling, family programs, grief groups, educational resources, and more, fostering resilience and hope for families. 

“Since Wynn’s passing, both Audrey and I have stayed active participating in grief groups, kids camps, and every event that we can attend,” said Eady. “As I approach the one-year anniversary of losing my daughter, I can say with full certainty that this organization has been a huge part of my healing journey. I truly don’t know where I would be without the people I’ve met and the opportunities that have arisen through the Austin Hatcher Foundation.”

LaCROSSe Out Cancer was made possible by the generous presenting sponsorship of Food City, and other sponsors Rock Bridge Community Church Cleveland, Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Chattanooga, and WCLE Mix 104.1 radio. All funds raised during the event go toward the Foundation providing more psychosocial services to families who continue to journey through the challenges of childhood cancer. These services are offered at no cost to the families and are administered by a licensed clinical team at AHF's 33,000-sq. ft. Education Advancement Center in Chattanooga.

Coach Megan Smith hugs cancer fighter Madi, whose name is on her jersey

Lee Lacrosse head coach and childhood cancer survivor Megan Smith paved the way for the LaCROSSe Out Cancer event, organizing the fundraisers, ideas, and jerseys.

“Any sports game is way bigger than a scoreboard, and though when the buzzer went off on Sunday showing my team losing, we won in so many more ways,” said Smith. “Sunday was a day where 100+ members of AHF families got to come out and enjoy the sport I love so much, the beautiful weather, and feel normal for a day. We were honored to be reminded so clearly why we were playing by getting to represent 32 pediatric cancer fighters, survivors, and angels on the back of our jerseys! It was a perfect example that lacrosse and life are so much more than ourselves. I would be lying if I said I don’t struggle with my cancer journey anymore, but days like Sunday, places like AHF, and people like my players make everyday easier.”

For more information about the annual "Lacrosse Out Cancer" event and the Austin Hatcher Foundation's mission, please visit To organize your own “Playing for a Purpose” sports game fundraiser, visit