Northwestern's biggest fan gets a big victory too
TOWSON, Md. -- As the seconds ticked down toward Northwestern's fourth straight national title, lacrosse sticks went flying. And as the Wildcats ran over to the sidelines to celebrate with their fans, something else went flying too. The team lifted
"She's awesome, she's just a shining star ..." said tournament MVP
Those text messages are updates on her day, her latest checkup or what her dad,
"They inspire her every single day to return to lacrosse," said her mother,
At Northwestern's first championship run, the Murphy family was given a box at the stadium with Northwestern coach
"In 2006 she came out on the field and she could hardly walk," remembers midfielder
The Murphy family gives much of that credit to the team, so they started a foundation called Friends of Jaclyn to pair up other children with different teams. So far they've matched 11 other children with teams, including Temple women's lacrosse and Amherst's men's soccer.
Venechanos and Northwestern also organized a benefit game between Northwestern and Massachusetts and has been turned into an annual event, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Awareness College Lax Challenge. This year's faceoff against Georgetown helped Northwestern earn $30,000 for the foundation.
To keep the program spreading,
"When you're diagnosed you just have to have this belief that you're going to win," said Lynda. "She has that same belief for the team."
While onlookers watched Murphy running back to the sidelines, purple beads strewn around her neck on Sunday, it was clear that while Northwestern may have won another national title, Murphy may be winning the biggest victory of them all.
"You're in the midst of everyone on your team and you see this little girl running at you and she's so excited to be there," said Bowen. "It's just the best feeling ever."