By Katie Beauregard, Staff Writer
It’s not often that two UNH varsity teams play each other on the same turf at the same time. But on Tuesday, April 28, at Memorial Field, men’s hockey competed against the women’s field hockey team to help fundraise for a charitable cause.
The Friends of Jaclyn [FoJ] charity is a national organization with a branch on campus that helps collects donations and spreads awareness for children with pediatric brain cancer. The men’s hockey team has paired up with the group over the past few years to help with their mission, and the “Field Hockey Battles Men’s Hockey in Friends of Jaclyn Game” was organized to raise money, involve different organizations, and get students involved in the cause.
In 2004, Jaclyn Murphy was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumor. The 9-year old was, according to the Friends of Jaclyn website, adopted by the Northwestern University women’s lacrosse team in 2005. The team was new to the NCAA, having been started as a varsity program in 2001. In 2005, the team earned a perfect season, and then won the school’s first NCAA title in 64 years. They would go on to win seven consecutive NCAA titles.
Murphy wanted other children with brain tumors to have the same positive experience of being adopted by a collegiate sports team. In 2005, the Murphy family started the Friends of Jaclyn charity to make her dream come true. Since then, it has grown into a national charity, teaming with numerous varsity sports programs at various colleges and universities in the United States.
Co-presidents of the UNH FoJ, Jen Pearl and Caroline Kellet, wore their baby blue tee shirts and sunglasses at the event, the appropriate attire for the warm, sunny day.
“We take a child with pediatric brain cancer and pair them with a sports team,” said Pearl. Andrew Silsby is the hockey team’s sponsored child, but is not alone in benefitting from the FoJ efforts. “We found a boy, Julian, for the football team, and now we have a girl Kaylee.”
FoJ is one of a few national organizations with a UNH chapter, and hosts the Golden Talent show every year. The group is also planning a pancake breakfast or lunch next semester, and a 5K run, with all proceeds going directly to the charity. Dates will be later determined.
Members of the Friends of Jaclyn walked around the turf with 50/50 raffle tickets, and were accompanied by members from the men’s hockey team. Defenseman and freshman, Dylan Chanter, discussed what this event means to his team.
“We’re just out here to raise awareness around the school,” said Chanter. “With Andrew on our team, it really means a lot to us.”
Chanter discussed how he is new to events like this, but said he and the team has also participated in the Golden Talent show. One of his teammates was a judge for this event, and the team went to show support for him and the cause.
“It’s really cool to see some of the athletes stepping up and doing other events,” said Kellet.
The co-presidents also discussed growing FOJ as an organization, by getting more sports teams, like the football team, involved. They also want to grow their organization in members.
“We only want to grow,” said Kellet. “We have 30 girls right now. So we’re hoping next year more people will know about it.”
While both competitive teams, the men and women had one thing in common–playing to help the FoJ charity.