2012 Rickerson Cup - NJ State Rugby Championships


2012 Rickerson Cup - NJ State Rugby Championships

2012 Rickerson Cup - NJ State Rugby Championships

This year more than 44,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States, and more than 37,500 will die from the disease. That's more than100 Americans dying each day.

Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer that still has 5-year survival rates in the single-digits. About 75% of patients die in the first year of diagnosis. Only 6% survive 5 years. It is a cancer for which the survival rate has not improved substantially over the past 40 years. That is tragic.

With your contribution, you are doing something to change these dismal statistics. You are joining with the rugby community, which is trying to "score against pancreatic cancer."

Your tax-deductible donations will go to fund research into the causes, to identify earlier detection methods, to improve treatment options and for support and advocacy for patients who will get this disease -- and for their loved ones who suffer through the disease along with them and are too often left behind.

How did this association between New Jersey Rugby and pancreatic cancer research happen?

Just before the 2010 tournament, some players wanted to help in an area that could really benefit from increased awareness. When these student-athletes learned that so little was known about pancreatic cancer, they decided they had a chance to make a real difference by calling for more research funding for pancreatic cancer research organizations with direct ties to New Jersey Rugby. They developed a slogan, "NJ Rugby Scores Against Pancreatic Cancer" TM.

This intercollegiate rugby initiative has raised over $75,000 so far, all of which has gone to the country's leading pancreatic cancer advocacy group, The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. This year the cumulative total raised by this one-day event will surpass $100,000. This is a tribute to these student-athletes who realize that they can do more than just play a game; they can make a difference.

With a disease that reaches into every community and people from all backgrounds, it should be no surprise that this devastating cancer affects the Princeton Rugby community. Tournament Director, Elaine Bigelow ’10, lost her father Doug to a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer when she was in high school.

Elaine says, “You don’t need to study biostatistics to conclude that the more research funding deadly cancers get, the fewer deaths result. She continues, "Tragically, opposite is also true: pancreatic cancer is near the bottom of both private and federal research funding, receiving far less than other less lethal cancers. Much more needs to be done.”

Stu Rickerson '71, for whom the rugby coaches in New Jersey named the tournament trophy for his 40+ years of support for the sport, is one of the lucky ones who's survived 7 years so far. But more than luck should decide who lives and who does not. Two deaths from pancreatic cancer in the same week in October 2011 underscores this fact. Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO and visionary leader, could afford any treatment in the world. Dr. Ralph Steinman, the 2011 Nobel Prize winner for Medicine who died just days before the Prize was awarded, applied his advanced immunotherapy treatment to extend his life, but it could not save him.

Rickerson says, “This disease is an 'equal opportunity' destroyer of families: It strikes women and men; the famous and the obscure; the fortunate and the disadvantaged; the healthy and the infirm; those in the prime of their lives and retirees; athletes and non-athletes; and all racial and ethnic groups in America. Until more research is done, no one is safe.” That's where increased and sophisticated research comes into play.

Many thanks for your interest. We hope you'll find that donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. Please forward this giving portal to anyone who you think might want to donate too!

Elaine Bigelow, Tournament Director &

Stu Rickerson, Founding Chair, Princeton University Rugby Endowment


1. The New Jersey State Intercollegiate Rugby Championship. Beginning at 10 a.m. on Rickerson Field and two other pitches at Princeton University's West Windsor Campus. A knock-out tournament for the 1st and 2nd XV Men's rugby sides from every college in New Jersey, the winner will be awarded The Rickerson Cup. The Final will begin at approximately 3:00 p.m. The Award Ceremony will follow immediately, including the selection of an All-New Jersey XV.

2. The Princeton Invitational Women's Rugby Tournament. Beginning at 10 a.m., also on Rickerson Field and the adjoining pitches. A knock-out tournament among 6 top Eastern university rugby clubs. The Final will begin at approximately 2 p.m., with the Award Ceremony and selectiton of an All-Tournament XV will be held simultaneously with the awarding of The Rickerson Cup.


1. Men's teams have been invited from every college in New Jersey which fields a rugby team, including: Drew University, Montclair State University, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, The College of New Jersey, William Patterson University and Princeton University.

2. Women's teams invited for 2012: Drew Universtiy, Harvard University, Rutgers University, The College of New Jersey, University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University.


The Princeton University Men's and Women's Rugby Club.


Rugby is widely played around the world before huge crowds, but is primarily a players’ sport in the U.S. Still, after lacrosse it may be the oldest contact sport played at the college level.

Teams from Rutgers University and Princeton adapted some of their rugby teams’ rules – particularly by permitting blocking – and invented the American game of football in 1869. Rugby similarly was invented when a student at The Rugby School in England decided to pick up a soccer ball and run with it in his hands in 1823. Soon thereafter the game was imported to New Jersey colleges. The earliest record of a Princeton Rugby Football Club is from 1877, and the PRFC was re-established in 1930 and has played continuously ever since. Despite this history, there seem never to have held a tournament to determine which college is the state’s top team. This tournament, now in its 6th year, fills that gap.


To all the student-athletes who participate, the coaches, the spectators, the universities, their respective athletic departments and, most especially, the donors for making this event such a success.

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2012 Rickerson Cup - NJ State Rugby Championships
Zac Deschaine accepts 2011 Rickerson Cup