Georgia Military College
The GMC Junior College softball head coach and players were recently introduced via Zoom to their newest member on January 20, after becoming the adoptive team of a pediatric brain tumor patient, 7-year-old Armani, through a program with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.
One by one, the GMC Junior College softball team players and head coach Ashley Bunn greeted Armani and his mother, Kim Carter, and shared a few fun facts about themselves. Several players are pre-nursing majors at the GMC-Milledgeville campus, including Autumn Land, whose career goal is to become a pediatric nurse.
"Armani is someone who we believe will have a tremendous impact on our program in countless ways," Bunn said, "and we hope that we can do as much for him as he will do for us."
Armani, sporting a GMC Bulldogs long-sleeve T-shirt, sat with his mother throughout the Zoom meet-and-greet with the GMC Junior College softball team. Kim Carter spoke at length about the health issues Armani has faced since he was 3 months old.
"I went from everything to nothing," Kim Carter said of her life as a hairstylist raising three young boys before Armani fell ill. "But when you have a child who's medically fragile, you gain a family," she added, referring to the medical team and others who have helped and supported them over the years, which now includes the GMC Junior College softball team. "I am thankful that you all chose to adopt us," she said.
Also sitting in on the Zoom meeting was Denis Murphy, who joined from his home in Hopewell Junction, New York. Murphy's family established the nonprofit organization Friends of Jaclyn Foundation after his then 9-year-old daughter, Jaclyn, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. At the start of her battle with cancer, with only a 30% chance to live, Jaclyn befriended and became an honorary member of a college lacrosse team. She is now 26 years old and a college graduate.
Through its "Adopt-A-Child Program," Friends of Jaclyn (FOJ) has had almost 1,000 children with a brain tumor or cancer to be adopted by high school and college athletic teams, and other community groups. The FOJ mission is to help adoptive teams form supportive bonds with the children to help them power through their health challenges.
"I can't wait to get out to one of your games and have everyone meet the team in person," said Kim Carter, who, just before the Zoom meet-and-greet ended, asked for a GMC Junior College softball team schedule to let Bunn know which game the family would like to attend.