UNK Woman's Basketball Adds an Honorary Member to their Squad
The University of Nebraska at Kearney women's basketball team adds another new member to the roster, but she won't see any minutes on the court just yet.
The team adopted a young girl who had brain cancer through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, which pairs up college athletic teams with children fighting brain cancer all across the country.
Addison Samuelson is 15 and is currently a sophomore at Cambridge High School. She loves being active. Addison battled a rare type of brain cancer called Medulloblastoma. She endured six weeks of radiation and a year of chemotherapy, which ended in July 2013. Today she is cancer free.
"I have learned to believe in myself more because I know that I am a strong person," said Addison.
Sports were a big part of her life before cancer, and even during chemo treatment she continued to play. Her mother, Jessica Carbaugh stayed by her side to help her fight. "You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and you can't feel sorry for yourself," said Carbaugh.
She now continues her journey with the support of the Lopers women's basketball squad. "As a new member she has her own locker that will be hers for life, no one else will ever use this locker; it will be hers," said the head coach of the women's basketball team at UNK, Kevin Chaney. Along with court-side seats, a jersey, an autographed team photo and lifelong friends on the team, Addison now has a second family.
"This has nothing to do with basketball; it has to do with life. It is an opportunity that we have as college coach, as college student athletes to be able to give back and to be able to enrich a young lady's life," said Chaney.
The founder of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation explains what he says is the most important medicine for brain tumors.
"There is no chemotherapy there is no radiation treatment and no clinical trial drug that is more powerful than love, support and friendship, and that is what adopt a child program is all about," said Denis Murphy, the foundation's founder and Jaclyn's father.
Addison is the 456th child that this organization has helped match with a team since 2005 and they hope they can reach more in years to come.