Article by Alex Hernandez | esPResso Committee Member
The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation is a nonprofit organization that strives to spread awareness about pediatric brain tumors and better the lives of children suffering from various cancers. FOJ has reached a national level of success that can be measured in the delighted testimonials and cheerful pictures of affected children received from families and teams across the country on a daily basis.
Friends of Jaclyn was founded after a nine-year-old Jaclyn Murphy was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor, in 2004. When a collegiate lacrosse team connected with Jaclyn, her family helped her achieve her dream of helping other sick children by starting the organization in 2005. Since then, the organization has helped nearly 600 families with brain tumors and other pediatric cancers.
In the beginning of October, Marist College teamed up with FOJ on the Walkway over the Hudson to support the cause. Athletic teams including baseball, track and field, and women’s basketball, in addition to clubs like Singers and PRSSA, made an appearance to help organize and participate at the walk.
Alicia Ptak, a two-year member of PRSSA, claims that the experience was one that she will never forget.
Alexandra Hernandez: Why did you get involved with this walk?
Alicia Ptak: I became interested in the event when it was first introduced to us at our first PRSSA meeting. After researching the organization online, I realized that the foundation supported a great cause and could help even more families if more people were aware. It is up to reputable institutions like Marist to raise awareness.
AH: What kind of feedback did the walk receive from the community?
AP: The Angel Walk had a huge turnout; Mr. Murphy, Jaclyn’s father, said it was one of the best showings he’s seen in years. The t-shirt sale was a major success, and the speakers were influential, motivational, and uplifting. Those who were close to Jaclyn sincerely thanked the Marist helpers for coming out, and the general public seemed to truly appreciate the event.
Friends of Jaclyn continues to be a growing organization that hosts various events throughout the year. Their mission statement, “live in the moment, play in the moment” inspires all who hear it to live life to the fullest.