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Jaclyn Murphy’s “big sisters”: Northwestern women’s lacrosse team

posted by ...Because I Played Sports
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 12:36pm EDT

The goal of …Because I Played Sports is to bring a voice to women’s sports online. As former athletes, we promise to do what we can to bring as much as we can to achieve gender equality in editorial coverage of contemporary female athletics. We’re here to vocalize what many sports editors are ignorantly missing… females.

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Jaclyn Murphy is no ordinary 14-year-old junior varsity lacrosse player. She’s got a great story, one which I’m thrilled to say the New York Times told the world this past weekend.

In short, Jaclyn, four years ago, was a frail 10 year old being treated for a malignant brain tumor. Through a mutual friend, she developed a unique relationship with the Northwestern University Women’s Lacrosse coach, and then the team, who have since become her “big sisters.”

At the time, the lacrosse players developed a relationship with Jacklyn through cards, text messages and a signed media guide.  Taken back by her story, the Northwestern players “began playing for Jaclyn,” New York Times reporter Pete Thamel wrote. “Soon after it started winning national championships, four in a row.”

The team is now 21-0 this season, and two games away from its title. They beat Princeton on their home turf in an N.C.A.A. quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon, and will compete against Penn on Sunday in Towson, MD at 6pm ET.

The bond helped Jacklyn, too. Thamel writes, “the bond the Northwestern team formed with Jaclyn helped save her life. She is now a healthy 14-year-old freshman at Arlington High School in LaGrangeville, N.Y., where she plays junior varsity lacrosse.”

Denis Murphy, Jaclyn’s father, has since set up Friends of Jaclyn, a non-profit organization which “matches a child with a college or high school sports team based on geographic location.”

“There’s magic in what they’ve done for her,” Denis Murphy said. “I can’t tell you or put into words what they’ve done for her health.”

I highly recommend you read the full story titled Four-Time Champions, and All Jacklyn’s Big Sisters. In addition, below is a great Big Ten Network video where Jacklyn tells her story..

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