The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

February 16, 2014

Boys of Summer: Two stories that deserve to be told

(Continued)

‘Man, I killed it!’

The day of Brooks’ signing will have a lasting impact on those who attended, from the team to the parents and, of course, to Brooks, who is going to be homeschooled during his recovery by mom, who also will be busy, along with dad, attending to Brooks’ two younger sisters, ages 2 and 3, in their suburban Nasvhille home.

“It was on God’s timing,” Kari said, regarding how much stronger Brooks was after his chemo, and the fact he would not have been able to endure as well as he was able to after his chemo therapy was concluded.

And how strong is Brooks these days? Well, the 5-year-old, who has been a sports fan since mom can remember, went to the indoor batting cage at Lipscomb following his signing, made contact on every swing and even developed a little bit of swagger.

“We walked out of there and he said, ‘Man, I killed it,’” Kari recalled.

Friends of Jaclyn

Brooks’ signing ceremony was the culmination of an “adoption” process put in motion by a group called Friends of Jaclyn, which was formed to match children with brain tumors to college sports teams for “adoptions.”

“We heard about them when he was in the chemo clinic,” Kari said. “I knew immediately we had to sign Brooks up for this opportunity since he loves everything sports.” It was a process that took a year to complete, but “was worth the wait.”

The organization is named for Jaclyn Murphy, then a 9-year-old who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2004. She connected with the Northwestern University women’s lacrosse team and became an honorary member. The team went on to win seven consecutive NCAA Division I national titles.

Jaclyn now is cancer free and is a sophomore at Marist College in New York.

According to the group’s website,

friendsofjaclyn.org, her parents started Friends of Jaclyn in 2005 when she shared with her father that she wanted other children with pediatric brain tumors to have the experience of being an honorary team member.

Michelle Deieso, the organization’s executive director, said Brooks Russell’s pairing with Lipscomb was the 465th adoption for the organization.

Their reach has been nationwide and likely will include the state of Oklahoma soon, as they are working on an adoption with Cameron University in Lawton for another child, Jocelyn, to become an honorary member of the Aggies’ women’s basketball team.

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