Despite a shortened season (and just one home game), the St. Bonaventure women’s lacrosse team raised nearly $4,500 to benefit the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Foundation.

What You Need To Know

  • The St. Bonaventure women’s lacrosse team raised $4,469 during their shortened season to benefit the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Foundation

  • Senior Jessica Losquadro’s father passed away from CJD last April

  • Losquadro says she hopes the Bonnies can lead a similar fundraiser next year

Imagine what they could have pulled in over a full season.

The idea for the fundraiser came last year, soon after senior Jessica Losquadro’s father passed away from CJD. Losquadro first picked up lacrosse as a third-grader on Long Island, with her father, Michael, acting as one of her team’s coaches.

"I think he just loved being there, and being around everyone, rather than actually coaching," she joked. "He would just joke around a lot. He really made it a good time."

Jessica was about midway through her sophomore season in 2019 when her family realized something was wrong.

"My mom had called me, and told me 'dad’s acting a little bit different. I’m just letting you know,'" she said. "I was like, 'okay, no big deal. I’m fine with that.' I had seen him, and I noticed little things he was doing. There were some things with his hand, and slurred speech."

Her family didn’t know it at the time, but those were symptoms of CJD. A test confirmed that her father had contracted the fatal brain disorder, which typically affects fewer than 500 Americans each year. Jessica went home in the middle of March, and her father passed away on April 5.

When she returned to St. Bonaventure in the fall, an unusual source gave her the first idea for a fundraiser.

"My mom had seen a psychic, and she had mentioned 'one of your daughters is going to do a CJD fundraiser and raise awareness.' I was sitting there, and I’m like, ‘that really sounds like a great idea.'"

"We were literally warming up for practice one day, and she was like ‘what do you think about this?'" said Savannah Clarke, the team’s starting goalie. "I was like 'you know what? That’s a great idea.'"

Clarke got involved right away.

"She was texting me saying she was talking to her dad and brother," explained Losquadro. "They helped make a lot of the logos. We were finalizing those, sending them to coach, sending them to anybody on our social media department."

"I went to the library that night. Didn’t have anything to do in the library except just plan for this fundraiser," said Clarke.

Who better than a business major to set things up? Clarke helped build a website to sell branded merchandise and accept donations for the CJD Foundation, which provides resources for families dealing with CJD and medical researchers. She also made sure the Bonnies didn’t violate any NCAA rules.

"We had to get a lot of approval, even just for the shirts, making sure we’re combining the CJD logo with the star, then with the Bonnies stuff," she said. "We had to make sure we were allowed to use both logos."

The website went live with modest expectations.

"I really didn’t think we were going to hit $1,000," said Jessica. "We had reached like $500-$1,000 before I even got to class."

"Small school, middle of nowhere. We came in with the idea that we would maybe reach $1,000," said Savannah. "We raised the goal again to $2,000 and then we reached that. I was like, 'oh my gosh, this is crazy! Okay, I guess we’ll go to $3,000.'"

The total haul? A hefty $4,469.

"I never thought it would get to that much," said Jessica. "I can’t even think about how much more we could have raised if the season kept going."

"I never, in a million years, would’ve thought we would have gotten over $4,000," said Savannah.

The Bonnies fundraiser achieved a few goals. It brought awareness for CJD, it raised money to try and find a cure, and it showed Jessica the family she has at Bonaventure.

"It really just made me realize how great of a group of girls I’m surrounded by," she said. "And knowing how much support I have no matter what I go through."        

Jessica says she hopes the Bonnies can run a similar fundraiser next year, and possibly raise more money with a full season behind them.