Marist Magazine: Fall 2014 - page 22

M
arist junior Jaclyn Murphy was
expecting a fun day in New York City
with her family this past June, starting with
lunch in Manhattan and concluding with
the Yankees/Toronto Blue Jays game at the
stadium in the Bronx.
What she didn’t know was that, in addi-
tion to dad Denis, mom Lynda, and sister
Taryn, her lunch companions would include
Yankees Manager Joe Girardi and players
David Robertson, Ichiro Suzuki, and others,
or that the ball game would not get underway
until Jaclyn and Denis took to the mound to
throw out the night’s first pitches.
It was all part of the Yankees’ annual
HOPE Week, which stands for “Helping
Others Persevere and Excel” and celebrates
people and organizations that battle adversity
and help others to do so. Which is why, that
day, the Yankees honored Jaclyn, Denis, and
Friends of Jaclyn, the foundation they started
to match children afflicted with brain tumors
with high school and college sports teams.
“It’s overwhelming,” Jaclyn said of the
experience and the recognition of the foun-
dation’s growing impact, “a great kind of
overwhelming.”
The foundation is Jaclyn and Denis’s
effort to provide other children the network
of support and inspiration that benefited her
Perfect Pitch
The New York Yankees honor Friends of Jaclyn, the foundation created by Marist junior Jaclyn Murphy
and her father to support and inspire children who have brain tumors.
B y G r e g C a n n o n
when she was being treated for a malignant
brain tumor, first diagnosed when she was
nine years old. The young Jaclyn
was connected to—and ultimately
adopted as an honorary member
by—the Northwestern University
women’s lacrosse team, which went
on to win an NCAA Championship.
She and her family credit the team
with providing a measure of caring,
support, inspiration, and diversion
that greatly aided her recovery.
At Yankee Stadium, three young
Hudson Valley children battling
brain tumors showed the extent
to which that vision has been real-
ized. Twelve-year-old Ryan Tucker,
11-year-old Sean Callahan, and
4-year-old Quinn Ostergren were
all presented with one-day Yankee
contracts that had them taking
questions at a pre-game press con-
ference, suiting up in pinstripes, and
spending time with Derek Jeter and
other players in the locker room, in
Marist junior Jaclyn Murphy and her father, Denis, throw out the first pitches at the Yankees/
Toronto Blue Jays game at Yankees Stadium in the Bronx as part of the Yankees’ HOPE Week,
which honored the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation established by the Murphys.
Four-year-old Quinn Ostergren was one of three children
battling brain tumors who were all presented with one-
day Yankee contracts that had them spending time with
Derek Jeter (above) and other players as part of the
Yankees’ HOPE Week.
PhotoscourtesyofNewYorkYankees
the dugout during warm-ups, and on the field
as they took batting practice.
In addition to offering a day of fun at the
ballpark and a day free of doctor visits for the
children, the Yankees’ HOPEWeek recogni-
tion provided tremendous exposure for the
foundation, which has grown greatly over the
past few years. The Yankees also presented
Friends of Jaclyn with a $10,000 donation to
help it manage that growth. From its initial
work with a handful of teams, the foundation
now works with hundreds of teams across
the country, including ones at Ivy League
universities like Harvard and Yale, major
sports powerhouses such as the University of
Michigan and the University of Washington,
and several Marist Red Foxes teams.
And now, the most recognizable pro-
fessional sports franchise in the world has
been added to this already impressive list.
“It’s amazing to see it grow into this,” Jaclyn
told a reporter in the Yankees press room,
shortly before Yankees Manager Girardi held
his pre-game press conference there. “It’s like
a great tree that’s blossoming.”
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Reaching Out
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