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The University at Albany’s Men’s Soccer and Cheerleading teams have both added a new honorary member to their roster this past week — working closely with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation to make it happen.

The Men’s soccer program added Jasier “Peanut” Brown, 6, who is fighting against retinoblastoma, while the cheerleading team added his sister, Neveah, 7, who is battling against neurofibromatosis.

The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers and to raise awareness through their Adopt-A-Child, Safe on the Sidelines and Guardian Angel Programs.  Numerous collegiate and high school teams around the country work to help the foundation’s cause.

“We’re honored to be able to be a part of such a program like Friends of Jaclyn” said the head coach of the men’s soccer team, Trevor Gorman.  “Anytime you can step aside from just the athletics side of things and have an opportunity to make an impact in people’s lives you take that opportunity.”

The ceremony, which took place at Bob Ford Field at the Tom & Mary Casey Stadium last Tuesday, began with an introduction of Jaclyn Murphy, of whom the foundation takes its namesake, by UAlbany Athletic Director, Mark Benson. After Jaclyn briefly spoke, her father Denis Murphy, UAlbany graduate and foundation leader added some words.

“It’s amazing how a team together can change our lives, and that’s what brings us here tonight. And I know Trevor, thank you, and (cheerleading coach) Patty, thank you so much for responding without batting an eyelash.  We don’t know what tomorrow brings for these children so to open up your hearts and your team and embrace this child today means the world and says something about you as a leader, not just a coach,” Murphy said.

He continued on with, “This program is simple. It’s love, support, and friendship.  And trust me, there is nothing more powerful.  There is no chemotherapy, there’s no radiation treatment, or clinical trial drug more powerful than those three.”

As Murphy finished speaking, both Peanut and Neveah joined Jaclyn, Denis, and both teams at midfield to sign their letters of intent. Once that was done, each child was presented with a gift; Peanut, a soccer jersey and Neveah a cheer uniform.

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