For Newburyport field hockey coach Lauren Hefferan, last year’s Play 4 the Cure game against North Andover, a benefit for the Susan Komen Foundation for a cure for breast cancer, hit closer to home than she would have liked. Hefferan had received the diagnosis that she herself had Stage 3 breast cancer a month prior.
“It was very emotional,” Hefferan says of last year’s game at the Amesbury Sports Park. “It is just amazing all the people that support and help you. They were there for my family and for myself. It was unbelievable.”
This year, thanks to her doctors and the assistance of pretty much everyone she knows, the story will be a bit different for Hefferan as her Clippers will face off against Pentucket while she is now in remission.
“It was very difficult,” Heffernan says of last season where she was coaching and undergoing surgery at the same time. “It was very emotional. I remember telling the kids, and they all started crying. But they all rallied. They came up with the idea of dying their hair pink and wearing pink socks. The parents and the kids were great.”
Hefferan says she was met with a sea of pink at last year’s event including the usual clothing as well as her players — and even one of the parents — dying their hair pink. And the support continued long after that. When they learned that Hefferan was unable to cook after surgery, the parents cooked meals and gave the Heffernans gift certificates to local restaurants, something she and her family are still grateful for.
One of the people supporting Heffernan last year was close friend, Pentucket coach Ruth Beaton. The Sachems will now be looking to beat Hefferan’s Clippers Monday.
“I would do anything to support any cause that will help to combat a disease that has taken the lives of so many, without yet a cure,” says Beaton. “Whatever we can do, as small as it may be, is necessary and absolutely critical.”