Episode 148, July 21, 2009

Friends of Jaclyn
Correspondent: Frank Deford l Producer: Chapman Downes

Boasting five consecutive national championships, the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team might be the most dominant program in NCAA history. For those close to the team, it’s common knowledge that their magic run began only after a secret weapon was brought in: Jaclyn Murphy. Diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at age nine, the Hopewell Junction, NY native was in desperate need of a lift when the team reached out to her. Four years later, Murphy is a healthy, cancer-free 14-year-old, while Northwestern hasn’t lost a national championship since their initial meeting. Inspired by their uplifting relationship, the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation has been established to link other children with malignant brain tumors to college teams around the country. Correspondent Frank Deford reports this remarkable story.

Episode 199, October 22, 2013

Friends of Jaclyn
Producers: Chapman Downes, Beret Remak.

When Jaclyn Murphy was nine years old, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and given a 30% chance of survival. To lift her spirits during the grueling medical treatments that followed, the Hopewell Junction, NY native was “adopted” by the Northwestern University women’s lacrosse team, which supported her with endless texts, video messages and friendship. Out of this connection grew Friends of Jaclyn, a foundation started by her parents, which has helped match other sick children with college teams. In this piece, Murphy is an 18-year-old college student who inspires others, and her family also continues to inspire. In the four years since the original REAL SPORTS report, the foundation has successfully paired hundreds of sick children with sports teams across the country. Correspondent Frank Deford reconnects with Jaclyn Murphy and her family.