The day Mike Powell heard his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer changed his life forever.
"She [Susan Powell] has taught me to value my life even more," said Mike Powell, who was in town Wednesday to promote "A Lacrosse Movie," a documentary that chronicles the life of Syracuse University's career scoring leader.
"You have to live life to its fullest," he said. "I've tried to do it every day since then. She told me to never worry about her, that it's a disease and she'd beat it. And she did [about four years ago]. Lance Armstrong says he thinks cancer helped him. I think my mom having it helped me."
Now Mike Powell is working with Fastbreak Lacrosse Camp, Brine and Dick's Sporting Goods to help other lacrosse families with similar problems. The film will make its Western New York premiere at the Sweet Home High School auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 23. Proceeds go to the Western New York Lacrosse for Kids Fund.
"When cancer touches your life in any form, you want to give back and kill this thing," Powell said. "We had the opportunity with the Lacrosse for Kids Foundation. I jumped at the chance to help those who have been stricken."
Tickets to the premiere can be purchased at www.fastbreakwny.com for $8 per person, or $20 with a copy of the DVD. At the door, tickets for the movie will cost $10 and the DVD will go for $15. The auditorium seats about 800 and tickets are sold on a first-come basis.
Jeremy Murphy, spokesman for WNY Lacrosse for Kids, said the goal is to fill every seat. "That will really help lacrosse families help other lacrosse families," he said.
Powell, a four-time first-team All-American at Syracuse from 2001-04, was a two-time winner of the Tewaaraton Trophy (college lacrosse's version of the Heisman Trophy) and led the Orange to titles in 2002 and '04, when he was named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player. He scored 150 goals with 157 assists at Syracuse for 307 points -- 20 more than his older brothers Casey (1995-98) and Ryan (1997-2000) each tallied for the Orange.
"It chronicles my whole life in 30 minutes," Mike Powell said. "I provided old footage of my childhood, my high school days [at Carthage, N.Y.], it includes college and touches on the pros [he helped the Baltimore Bayhawks win the championship of Major League Lacrosse last summer].
"An 8-millimeter camera was used to make it edgy and raw. That's more my style and personality. I wanted it to be authentic to the sport, I didn't want it to be 'MTV Cribs.' It's not all lacrosse highlights, it's much more intimate."
Powell, 23, is anything but a typical jock. As a senior at Syracuse, his creative juices took over when he ran down the field and did a flip before taking a shot on goal.
"I'll get in slumps with the game of lacrosse playing like I normally play it," Powell said. "I'll sit down and write a song or a poem, or I'll paint some. That frees my mind and lets me know that I have to do my own thing, be my own player. That's kind of what inspired me to do the flip."
Powell sings and plays guitar, and has spent time in a recording studio since leaving SU. The music world has been harder for him to conquer than lacrosse.
"It's hard to deny who the great lacrosse players are," Powell said. "Basically, you pick up a ball and shoot it into the net. I think that's why I like music so much. It's a chance for me to be myself and to carve my own path. Music for me has always been a release. When lacrosse wears on you and turns into a job, like it did when I was in college, music is my saving grace."
Casey, who's 29, 26-year-old Ryan, whose Portland LumberJax meet the Buffalo Bandits at HSBC Arena on Friday night, and Mike will participate in a question and answer session and an autograph signing at the premiere.