Great people deserve to be remembered, the loved ones of former boys’ lacrosse defense coach Colin O’Kane believe. This Friday, the Vikings’ (0-0,0-0) match at 7 p.m. against Archbishop Mitty High School (0-0, 0-0), O’Kane’s alma mater, will be dedicated to O’Kane and his memory.
While attendance is free for this pre-season game, donations are welcomed and encouraged. Colin O’Kane was an undiagnosed sufferer of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, according to his father Sean O’Kane. His undiagnosed HCM caused him to die suddenly this past summer. According to Sean O’Kane, the money donated will be put towards funding for young lacrosse players and medical research.
“Colin, in peak fitness, died suddenly June 3, 2016, of undiagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy [HCM], at the age of 25,” Sean O’Kane said. “The love, friendship and mentoring he packed into those years could fill most people’s lifetimes.”
Sean O’Kane says that the donations will go to worthy causes.
“Our goal is to raise money for gear, sign up costs and travel-related expenses for games and tournaments and also to foster research into HCM [hypertrophic cardiomyopathy],” Sean O’Kane said. “The fund will help finance underprivileged players and encourage and support our youth who want to play lacrosse, no matter their financial situation.”
According to head coach Daniel Shelton, this game holds many facets of importance.
“First, we just wanted to bring the lacrosse community together to show support for family and friends through the great game of lacrosse,” Shelton said. “Secondly, we wanted to raise money for new players. Also, we want to raise awareness of Colin’s cause of death, HCM. We’re having a specialist from Stanford come and speak to the fans before the game so that they know how to get screened and be more aware of the warning signs. We hope that by doing all these things, our community becomes more tightly knit, more loving and healthier.”
Selina Lee Fowler, Colin’s girlfriend and Alex Sainz, Paly assistant coach are also distributing an online fundraising campaign created by Sean O’Kane that solicits donations that will be used for sending kids to Bay Area lacrosse camps and for funding research into HCM.
According to Sean O’Kane, Colin was also in training as an Emergency Medical Technician and applied to the Santa Clara Fire Department, where he was accepted with broken time records for the physical tests. He is officially recognized as a former firefighter at the SCFD.
According to Shelton, this game is significant to the team because to the team because O’Kane made an impact on many of their lives.
“Colin was one of the greatest human beings I have ever met,” Shelton said. “He was always happy, and always willing to help those in need. He always checked in with me and others about how we’re doing before ever speaking about himself. He was always early to practice, and helping players get better on and off the field. He was able to bond with players on my [Paly boys’ lacrosse] team in ways I never knew possible.”
The matchup is a perfect way to show solidarity between schools, family and friends. Boys’ lacrosse team member and senior defender Christian Rider says that Colin served as a source of inspiration for the team.
“We all miss him very much,” Rider said. “We will honor Coach Colin by playing to the best of our abilities and playing clean to [show] respect [to] him and the sport he loved to play and did so much for.”
The game is projected to have a large turnout according to the event’s Facebook page. The coordinators, Sean O’Kane, Lee Fowler, Shelton and Sainz hope that the event will serve as a way to remember Colin O’Kane with respect and honor his memory for benefitting the community.
“[He was always] innately curious about his surroundings and this world,” Sean O’Kane said. “It was a trait that fueled Colin O’Kane’s very being throughout his life, powered his love of friends and family, interest in new adventures and his athletic endeavors.”