By Gregory Camillone – Contributing Writer
On Saturday, Sept 23, the Laser’s women’s soccer team defeated the Saint Joseph of Maine Monks in a GNAC matchup to raise awareness about Crohn’s disease with a final score of 1-0.
“The idea was brought to us by the Saint Joseph of Maine Head Coach, Jenelle Harris,” said Lasell’s Director of Sports Information Emily Machado. “They’re a community driven team and wanted to help us out. Haleigh Butler’s sister plays on St. Josephs of Maine. They wanted to do the Crohn’s awareness game when they play each other and it happened to be here.”
A ceremony was held before the game, recognizing Haleigh Butler and her sister, Sheila, for their fight and courage against Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s is a life-long inflammatory bowel disease that requires constant treatment, according to crohnsandcolitis.com.
“I was anxious all morning,” said Butler, who plays forward for the Lasers. “I wanted the game to start and settle in. All I could think about was my family being there. I wanted to win and fight for my mom.”
Butler recounts her own personal struggles when first experiencing Crohn’s disease symptoms. “For a while, I didn’t say anything and lost a lot of weight. The biggest thing with Crohn’s is there’s no one way to diagnosis it,” said Butler. “You have to try experimental drugs and get all these tests done. Then, they can come up with incentives as to what it is.”
Butler believes that most people are unfamiliar of Crohn’s disease. “A lot of people think of it as a bathroom disease. There’s a lot more that goes along with it,” said Butler.
Before Saturday’s game, Butler felt the support of her coach and team. “The words my coach said about me and my family before the game really meant a lot,” said Butler. “My coach understands there are days the team doesn’t know I’m suffering, but I’m out there fighting for them. That’s my biggest thing. They’re my family; my team is my family.”
More than 300 people filled the hill at Taylor Field in attendance between the Lasell and St. Joseph’s community. One thing Haleigh hopes people take away from Saturday’s event is to be mindful and do their research.
“There are diseases other than Crohn’s that are misunderstood and would never know someone is suffering with every day”, said Butler. “I encourage people to gather more information about diseases before assuming that Crohn’s is a bathroom disease.”
During halftime, donations were collected and will be given to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
“Most people think the women’s soccer team is a relentless, aggressive bunch of people who are there to solely win,” said Machado. “Games like this prove it’s more than soccer; it’s more than sports. Collaborating together as competitive conference schools shows our sportsmanship and care for things off the field.”
“I want to say thank you to everyone for what they did on Saturday,” Butler said. “Especially Emily Machado; I would be lost without her.”