While many people are focusing on the Erin Andrews tape, Ben Roethlisberger's sexual assault civil suit, or what your favorite athlete is tweeting, finally an uplifting story came to us via HBO's Real Sports. If you do not watch this show, you are simply missing out and I am not just talking about this story in particular. Real Sports is what E:60 should have been if it was not held by the constraints of the sports its network covers or assuming that every viewer has the capacity of a mentally challenged 13 year-old. It is for the educated sports consumer and if you can get past the host, it gives you glimpses of the outlandish, historical, and often tragic side of sports in our society.
Last night, the episode had a feature on an organization known as Friends of Jaclyn which pairs pediatric brain tumor patients with a college athletic team. The organization was started by Jaclyn Murphy's father, who saw his own daughter afflicted with a malignant brain tumor when she was ten. Jaclyn had been a participant in sports throughout her youth and in a way to try to bolster her spirits, Jaclyn's lacrosse coach reached out to a former Maryland player who was coaching at Northwestern. The returning support from the team was tremendous and they formed a strong bond with Jaclyn. The Wildcats women's lacrosse team has since gone on a 5-year title streak. The success of Jaclyn's recovery and the inspiration it gave to the Northwestern team led Denis Murphy to create Friends of Jaclyn so that other kids battling brain cancer could experience what his daughter had.
The result is that now all across the country, teams are taking in these kids and giving them a sense of accomplishment and teamwork. Denis has even said the demand now is so great from teams that there is a waiting list. It is not the greatest gift you can give a child, but it is a valuable lesson for them to have if they survive and one they can cherish if they are unable to overcome the disease. While making kids wishes come true is very worthwhile, this is the formation of a bond that lasts weeks, years, and perhaps longer.
This story has been mentioned before, even by espn.com but Real Sports put it into an incredibly touching piece that is definitely worth seeing. If you want more information on Friends of Jaclyn, you can visit their official website here: friendsofjaclyn.org.