SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Prior to tip-off of the men's basketball game against VMI on Saturday, December 12, the Seton Hall baseball team welcomed Connor Mackay to their squad through the "Friends of Jaclyn" Organization. Over 40 members, including head coach Rob Sheppard joined Connor and his family inside the Prudential Center's Goal Bar for breakfast before watching the Pirates' basketball team defeat the Keydets 134-107.
"Friends of Jaclyn" is a non-profit organization that connects children struggling with brain tumors with an NCAA team. Throughout the year, the team provides support and encouragement to the child and their family.
"Collin McGowan and Sue Regan brought the Friends of Jaclyn program to my attention and it looked like a great idea," said Sheppard. "This takes a complete team effort, and I'm proud of our players and coaches for jumping at the opportunity to be a part of it. Being involved allows the team to have an impact on Connor through friendship and comradery, while at the same time, Connor's plight allows the team to see life in a different perspective."
Connor is seven-years-old and lives with his family in Rahway, N.J. On May 17, 2007, Connor was diagnosed with a Craniopharyngioma, a slow-growing calcified cystic tumor. In March of 2009, after surgeries and radiation, Connor experienced multiple TIA's, which are warning or mini-strokes that produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Following the TIA's, Connor had an Angiogram revealing that he had Moya Moya Syndrome which damages the cerebral artery and restricts blood flow to the brain. The syndrome, however, has been stabilized following his latest surgery in August.
"Connor is a part of the Seton Hall family and will continue to be throughout the season and beyond," noted Sheppard. "We look forward to his presence at our games. Together, we'll be cheering for each other, just like all successful teams."
For more information on the "Friends of Jaclyn" program please visit www.friendsofjaclyn.org.