Community showcases support during tragedy, GoFundMe link exceeds goal

Football players rally around teammate

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Cole Lagowski ’22 poses with teammates after LT football win over Addison Trail on Sep. 3 (photo courtesy of Jackie Clifton).

Morgan Fry, Editor in Chief

Cole Lagowski ‘22 was a standout defensive player and passionate athlete on the LT varsity football team, teammate Owen Cherry ‘22 said. Unfortunately, at the end of 2021, Lagowski lost his father, John Lagowski, after recently losing his mother, Robin Lagowski, in April of 2020. This left Lagowski an orphan, faced with virtually no funds to support him in his future endeavors. 

However, after a GoFundMe was created by Cordelia Coppleson for Lagowski, the LT community has proven their generosity, raising $175,350 and surpassing the $150,000 goal for Lagowski. According to the GoFundMe, the donations came from more than 1,800 District 204 residents, students, alumni and people who just wanted to help out. 

“When we started this campaign, we had no idea what would happen. We just knew we wanted to help Cole with future financial burdens,” Coppleson said on the GoFundMe. “We are thrilled to tell you this community showed up.” 

Many individuals on the GoFundMe commented that even though they don’t know Lagowski personally, they were touched by his story. Through sharing the GoFundMe page on social media, and through talk in the community, Lagowski’s story was able to receive coverage on NBC 5 Chicago News, thanks to reporter and LT alumna Lauren Petty

Interviewed on the segment was former youth football coach Mark Wirtz, son and varsity wide receiver Aidan Wirtz ‘22, and varsity quarterback Joey Antonietti ‘22. All reminisced about Lagowski’s commitment to the LT football team and his dedication to the sport. 

“Cole played and practiced with an intensity second to none,” defensive line coach Mark Kropke said. “His efforts were always being pointed out by the coaches to the other players on how to play the game.” 

After ending his football career with a torn ACL and meniscus, Lagowski underwent a successful surgery in October 2021, but was still recovering and faced with having to pay for months of physical therapy. However, thanks to the community support and attention from the GoFundMe, local professionals have since volunteered their time and expertise to help Lagowski care for his medical needs. 

“[The community] has prove[n] that there are people in this world who really care about others,” grandparents Ken and Lynn Lagowski said on the Go-Fund-Me. “Because of you, Cole will have a future.” 

In addition to their support for Lagowski on NBC 5 news, the LT football team organized a gift delivery for Lagowski for the holidays. The gifts were simple items such as the Xbox gift card Cherry pitched in, but were one of the small ways the players hoped to help out. 

“This tragedy has shown me how close the LT community is and what we can do when we all come together,” friend and varsity offensive line Edward Carroll ‘22 said. “There’s good people everywhere and if anyone in the LT community needs help, all we need to do is ask for it, and someone is bound to reach out a helping hand.” 

Lagowski is finishing his senior year at LT, and now has some security in his future educational endeavors, or whatever his future plans will entail, Coppleson said.  

“We will never be able to tell you how much [the community] has helped this great kid in a horrible situation,” Coppleson said. “[We’re] looking forward to a brighter New Year, with deep appreciation.” 

LION reached out to Lagowski, and respects his decision not to participate in an interview.