Lax For The Cure has raised more than $4 million in the fight against breast cancer since its formation 15 years ago.

Lax For The Cure Hits $4 Million Milestone in Fight Against Breast Cancer

Central New Jersey will go pink with over 400 teams participating in the 15th year of the Lax For The Cure tournament this month.

“There’s a lot of pink,” said Jessica Shoulberg. “It’s covered in pink. Teams like the Yellow Jackets (N.Y.) will forgo their normal traditional uniforms and bring out pink pinnies. Heroes (Md.) does same thing. So many clubs will fundraise and have pink t-shirts. Then there’s the little kids who are decked out in hulas and pink wigs, and it’s just an absolute scene. It makes you smile.”

Shoulberg and her husband, Charlie Shoulberg, are thrilled that the tournament has developed into a premier event that has impacted the fight against breast cancer through the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation. This summer, Lax For The Cure will surpass $4 million raised to battle breast cancer through the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation since the event’s formation.

“Every year, I get pretty stressed out about the Lax-Raisers,” said Jessica Shoulberg of the fundraising term the tournament uses. “I worry, what if we don’t hit the same number, what if we don’t get what we got last year? I have to pinch myself and say, you’ve done a good job. Not only the money that’s been raised, but it’s also creating awareness for the girls and for their parents. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they walked away from the tournament and said, I gotta go get a mammogram and thank god I did. That to me takes the pressure off the money and total dollar value because I know it’s so much more than that.”

The Shoulbergs started the tournament in the summer of 2007 as a response to three moms in their STEPS Lacrosse Club fighting breast cancer. Along with fellow tournament director K.C. Knobloch and his wife, Deanna, they grew Lax For The Cure quickly into a premier event with a waiting list that numbers 100 teams. Teams from across the country and more than 200 college coaches attend regularly.

“That summer when we had moms afflicted with breast cancer, my wife said, ‘We have to do something,’” recalled Charlie Shoulberg. “It’s been a very tangible community-driven crowd. Just having the amount of kids that play and fundraise, and just embracing helping each other out, that’s a hallmark for the lacrosse community. The lacrosse community in general will support each other and step up in times of need.”

Lax For The Cure has generated assistance and awareness in the fight against breast cancer at an unexpected scale. The first year raised about $50,000. The tournament then started offering player and team fundraising pages that have helped foster a competitive atmosphere for raising money to research a cure and assist families in need.

“It’s probably the first of its kind where it tied itself to a cause,” Knobloch said. “You see more of this happening now – Wounded Warrior, Headstrong, all worthy causes. If you look at the clientele, the patrons who involved themselves in lacrosse, on the socio-economic scale there are a lot of people that do have the wherewithal to chip in and help.”

It was clear from the start that the cause and the tournament were special, something more than just lacrosse. The Shoulbergs, who coached at Mendham High School and ran STEPS, reached out to partner with the Knoblochs, who coached at Moorestown High School and ran the South Jersey Select club.

“We used to always butt heads in the state tournament,” said Jessica Shoulberg. “They always beat us. We started our clubs around the same time. They were South Jersey and we were really North Jersey. If we wanted to do this and make an impact in New Jersey we knew we needed another strong club and great people to support it on and off the field, and you knew you could trust them. That’s what they’ve been – nothing but supportive.”

The friendly rivals put aside any competitiveness toward each other to team together to tackle breast cancer, which afflicts one in eight U.S. women in their lifetime. They had the tournament up and running in less than a year from the original concept, and they have continued to work together since then.

“It was pretty much a no-brainer for all of us,” said K.C. Knobloch. “To use lacrosse as a vehicle to raise more awareness on something that has affected so many people, so many women especially, and raise funds and all the while have a great tournament to do so, it’s perfect.”

Lax For The Cure still is evolving while sustaining its mission. It is in only its second year of splitting into two age groups. Lax For The Cure Youth took place June 18-19 with the 2026 through 2031 divisions. Lax For The Cure High School will have 2023 through 2025 divisions playing this weekend from June 24-26. The split allowed them to welcome more teams overall and gave younger players their own weekend while recruitable high school aged players bring a different dynamic with college coaches crowding the sidelines.

“We ask colleges to come as a tagline – Recruit For The Cure,” Charlie Shoulberg said. “The more that you’re there, we say, the more that people want to be there. In the recruiting landscape, the best clubs want to go where the college coaches are. We try to treat the college coaches really well with the scheduling and ancillary stuff.”


Lax For The Cure co-founders Jessica and Charlie Shoulberg will have their three daughters all participating in this year's events.

Lax For The Cure will be expanding its reach. Already approaching a decade, the Lax For The Cure Fall Showcase gives another opportunity for teams to play and raise funds in November, and this December will be the first Lax For the Cure West in Mesa, Ariz.

“We have a lot of West Coast teams that want to enter on the East Coast,” Charlie Shoulberg said. “The idea of a lacrosse tournament with the philanthropy involved with it is something that was attractive to them as well. So that’s why we opened the first weekend in December to have Lax for the Cure West. Year One, we’re hoping to have a good start and build from there and do more good in the fight against breast cancer.”

The directors credit the success of Lax For The Cure as a tournament and significant fundraiser to the work of all the moving parts that contribute. Nike is title sponsor, and this year Coherus BioSciences is offering JBL speakers to leading fundraisers to highlight the giveaways. The individuals and teams remain the backbone to fundraising, the college coaches help make it a more attractive tournament for top clubs, and the tournament operations staff helps the weekends run smoothly, along with the staffs at the host sites of New Egypt High School and Allentown High School.

“We’re really fortunate that we found people who like to work,” said Jessica Shoulberg. “We all work and we all hustle. That’s the key to our success is we don’t take anything for granted and we hustle every day. If you have people that do that, it makes everybody’s lives easier.”

The tournament has been a highlight of the Shoulbergs’ lives. They have five children of their own, and their oldest three daughters will play in this year’s Lax For The Cure, fully decked out in the signature pink that reflects an enthusiasm for the tournament.

“The impact is unbelievable,” said Jessica Shoulberg. “It’s my little baby.”

Their oldest daughter is just one year older than the tournament, and the tournament remains intimately personal for their family and their club. This year, STEPS is dedicating its fundraising efforts to the Hicks family, which has a mother battling breast cancer with three girls playing in their program. It’s a reminder of why they started Lax For The Cure.

“It is a great event,” Knobloch said. “We’re lucky to be involved in it. There are so many people that are the beneficiaries. We really hope we can continue to do this for a long time to come.”