By KAITLIN BEAUREGARD
“Improving the quality of life for children and their families who are battling pediatric brain tumors,” is the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation’s motto.
Many schools around the country, including UNH, are part of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ) organization, which pairs children with pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers with high school or college sports teams, so the children can feel a part of the community. The UNH men’s hockey team, football team and FOJ here on campus have all adopted a child.
Grace Yanagi, the publicity officer for FOJ at UNH talked about her experience of joining the organization, and why it is so important on campus.
“I joined this organization to feel a part of something,” said Yanagi. “I love what FOJ stands for and the message that it sends to the community. FOJ genuinely cares about the FOJ children and making sure they feel welcome and loved.”
FOJ originally started in 2004 when 9-year-old Jaclyn Murphy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Murphy eventually became connected with the women’s lacrosse team at Northwestern University in Illinois. Because of Murphy, children like Andrew Silsby, Julian Sarvai and Kaylee Vance are all able to be a part of UNH’s FOJ organization.
The UNH men’s hockey team adopted Andrew Silsby, the UNH Football team adopted Julian Sarvai and Kaylee Vance was adopted by the UNH FOJ Club. According to Yanagi, all three children are currently in remission and thriving.
“The UNH community should know about FOJ and try to spread pediatric tumor awareness on the UNH campus one team at a time,” said Yanagi.
UNH’s FOJ holds many events around campus, in order to spread awareness about pediatric brain tumors. Next semester, they will be holding an event called “Jog for Jaclyn,” which was named by Andrew Silsby himself. Information on this event will be given at a later date.
“I have learned so much from the FOJ children,” said Yanagi. “Their amazing personalities make working with FOJ a fun and enjoyable experience.”
For more information on FOJ, visit their website or Facebook page.