Over the past few weeks the Sun Devils Women’s Basketball team has developed a special connection with a young Valley resident. The video slideshow below depicts the story of the women’s basketball team’s relationship with Jackie, who the team adopted through Friends of Jaclyn (FoJ), a non-profit organization whose mission is improving the quality of life of children battling pediatric brain tumors.
Earlier this summer the team held a special ‘Signing Day’ party for Jackie, which included a press conference announcing her signing. Since then, the team has continued to meet with her on a regular basis to play games and engage in her favorite hobbies, which include singing and dancing.
In 2006, when she was only three years old, Jackie was diagnosed with leukemia (AML), an adult form of leukemia not commonly seen in children. Jackie went through months of treatment to fight off the disease only to have it return in a more aggressive form in 2008. She would eventually need a bone marrow transplant to survive. She still deals with post-transplant complications but pushes herself daily by “paying it forward.” She adopted the philosophy back when she needed the bone marrow transplant. There were no suitable donors on the registry for her at the time. If not for an unrelated cord blood donation she would not be alive today.
Friends of Jaclyn’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children and their families who are battling pediatric brain tumors and to raise awareness about this insidious disease. FoJ pairs up children and their families battling pediatric brain tumors with college and high school sports teams. The teams give these children love, support and friendship as they fight this devastating disease. They celebrate each day by creating lasting relationships between student athletes, the child, and their families. This greatly improves the quality of life for children with brain tumors, as well as those who support them.
This is the Sun Devil women’s basketball team’s second adoption through ‘Friends of Jaclyn.’ The team’s first adoptee, Dani, has graduated high school and is now in college.