TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – One of the foundational principles that Florida State softball is built on is, “Playing for those who can’t.” The Seminoles displayed that again as they “adopted” Madison Marshall, a 16-year old girl who is battling a brain tumor, through a partnership with the Friends Of Jaclyn Foundation.
Marshall, who lives with her family in Clarksville, Fla., had grown up like any other young girl, playing sports and going hunting and fishing with her family. But at the end of 2014, she suffered a seizure which started her down the difficult road that eventually revealed a tumor in her brain, resulting in surgery and chemotherapy treatments.
The Seminole softball team learned of Marshall and her family through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. The FOJ was created in 2005 by Denis Murphy when his daughter, Jaclyn, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and through several chance events became an honorary member of the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team.
After seeing the impact that the relationship with the players from Northwestern had on Jaclyn, Denis decided to try and help pair other kids with pediatric brain tumors with collegiate sports teams. While there is value in cancer research and awareness, the FOJ seeks to make a present difference in the lives of the kids as best as they can. The foundation has helped nearly 700 families get paired up with men’s and women’s teams from nearly every sport and covering all levels of collegiate athletics.
In a ceremony on January 15, Marshall and her family came to Tallahassee for an adoption ceremony. The team presented Marshall with a Seminoles jersey, exchanged phone numbers, laughed and got to know the young girl that will now forever be linked with the FSU softball team.
“It is so great be able to put a smile on Madison’s face, but she gives us even more,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alalmeda. “We are out here playing a game for fun and it helps to put everything in perspective when you know someone who is going through the kind of fight that Madison is everyday.”
The Seminoles are no stranger to this sort of relationship as they have had young fans like Amber Howard and Taylor Foster who have become important members of the team throughout the years as they have battled cancer.
“Taylor was very personal to me,” said senior Macey Cheatham. “She definitely changed this program and changed my life, and I hope we can do the same thing for Madison – to change her life like Taylor changed ours.”
The Seminoles will have several events throughout the season to help raise awareness of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, as well as cancer of varying kinds. For more information on the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, feel free to go to friendsofjaclyn.com.
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