LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Shaker girls lacrosse team hosted Colonie on Tuesday night. The two rivals on the field teamed up off the field to help raise awareness for something much bigger than sports.
The game helped raised money for the 15 for Life Foundation, which seeks to normalize discussions around depression and mental health. The foundation was founded by the Kavovit family after Rob Kavovit, a former All-American lacrosse player at Syracuse, took his own life in 2021 at the age of 45.
The 15 for Life Foundation describes their mission statement as, “In Rob’s honor his family will carry the torch of the 15 For Life Foundation to shed the shame and embarrassment around depression and mental health. By opening dialogue in a fresh and honest way, 15 For Life’s mission is to better equip people of all ages to understand and recognize depression and mental illness potentially affecting themselves, family and/or friends. We believe that with a better understanding of genetic susceptibilities people can be less prone to the illnesses inside. 15 For Life…It’s Understanding You!”
Rob’s brother Jeff was in attendance to help spread awareness on Tuesday. “I go around and talk to a lot of local programs, high schools, colleges,” says Kavovit. “I’ve gotten calls from coaches about men on their team or women on their team that have opened up and said, ‘Coach I’m battling. I’m having issues.’ Or they tell their teammates. So if I can get stories like that, it’s working.”
Shaker head coach Joe Pollicino believes it’s important to remove the stigma from conversations surrounding mental health. “We feel it’s very important for us as people who are in charge of a program from our modified level, all the way up to our high school level, to make kids feel comfortable to talk about things if there are things that are bothering them,” says Pollicino. “Whether it’s us, whether it’s a teammate, mom, dad, guidance counselor, whatever.”
You can donate to the 15 For Life Foundation here.
On the field, Shaker beat Colonie 10-9 in overtime.