March 21, 2013

Millersville, Team Supposed to Play Seton Hill, Steps Up Support

by Mark Macyk | | Related: Quigley Remembered for Selfless, Energetic Attitude

The Seton Hill women's lacrosse team was on its way to play Millersville on Saturday. Millersville's players and coaches felt "helpless," head coach Mia Hall said and immediately began thinking of ways to help.
© Millersville

In its time of need, the team Seton Hill was supposed to play on Saturday has turned into one of its biggest supporters.

The Millersville women's lacrosse team is selling crimson and gold wristbands embroidered with the slogan "onelaxfamily" above the initials "KQ" to raise money for Kristie Quigley's young son Gavin. They've sold more than 1,000 of the $8 wristbands in two days.

"She was the nicest person ever," Millersville coach Mia Hall said. "Anything you need. I know if the shoe was on the other foot, she would have done this in a heartbeat."

Helping was an easy decision. The process that led Millersville to it was anything but.

When Millersville's players learned that Seton Hill's bus had crashed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike en route to their campus, taking the life of Quigley, her unborn son and bus driver Anthony Guaetta, their immediate response was, "How can we help?"

At first, the players wanted to go to the hospital to show their support, but they quickly realized an accident of this magnitude wouldn't be confined to one location. Seton Hill players were transported to three different hospitals in the region.

The next thought was donating blood. They checked online. No donation spots were open.

"You just feel helpless," Hall said. "We all had the feeling. You sit there reeling with such heartbreak. They were coming to play us. All of these things are going through your head. We wanted to dedicate the rest of our season to them."

Many Millersville players donated blood Wednesday, but before that, they sought alternative ways to help Seton Hill. It was during those brainstorming sessions that the idea of selling wristbands came up. The hashtag, "onelaxfamily," was trending on Twitter. It seemed the perfect slogan.

"I don't know where it came from," Hall said. "But it just made so much sense. At the end of the day, this is just a game, but we are all one big family. We want to be there to support each other. Right now, these are the hard times, but we don't want Seton Hill and the Quigley family to ever be forgotten."

The original idea was for rubber, LiveStrong-style bracelets. But those can't be worn during games. Designing a sweatband meant teams could honor Seton Hill while playing, the same way they were already doing with crimson-and-gold ribbons in their hair, and messages written on shoes, sticks and skin.

The question was, where could those wristbands could be made? Could they even be made?

Millersville has sold more than 1,000 wristbands to raise money for a fund set up to benefit Kristina Quigley's young son.

Millersville had ordered T-shirts through Bob Hilbert Sportswear in Boyertown, Pa., in the past. The fiancée of a former player works for the company, so they emailed to ask if their idea was logistically possible.

A response came Sunday. Hilbert had heard the story. He didn't have a wristband supplier, but he'd do whatever he could to help.

The next morning, Hall received a call. Hilbert gets emails daily from vendors hawking coozies and other novelties to be adorned with team logos. The first email that morning was from a wristband company in North Carolina.

Hilbert followed up. People at the company knew of the accident and were happy to help. One hundred wristbands were shipped overnight and embroidered. Millersville will wear them Saturday when it visits Alderson-Broaddus. Seventy-five more have been rush ordered for members of the Quigley family. The other 900-plus people awaiting their bands likely will receive their orders in a few weeks.

With the logistics settled, Millersville was faced with another dilemma: what to do with the proceeds.

Again, Hall turned to Twitter, where a link to the scholarship fund set up by Quigley family friend Liz Goff for Gavin popped up on her computer.

"I got off the phone with Bob, and I see the scholarship fund right there on my screen," Hall said. "It's like she was pulling the strings. I know she's up there."

In a way, Quigley was. Goff had the idea to set up the fund because Quigley had set up one herself, after Goff's infant son Mason passed away in 2011.

As of Thursday morning, the website had raised more than $50,000.

"In the days and months to come, we just want the Quigley family and Seton Hill to know we're supporting them on their best days and their worst days," Hall said.

Thanks to the efforts of Millersville, Goff, 1,000 (and counting) donors, 1,000 (and counting) wristband buyers and hundreds of teams across the country, it seems certain that won't happen.

The message on the wristband rings true. Onelaxfamily indeed.

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