April 26, 2012
BERKELEY - The Golden Bears carry Bebe Wiggs with them wherever they go. Bebe has her own locker and lounge chair inside the California softball team's locker room at the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance. BW adorns the batting helmets. But even more important is the impact that Bebe has had on the lives of the Bears.
In 2010, Bebe Wiggs entered the Cal program forever when the Golden Bears adopted Bebe, a local child with pediatric cancer, through the Friends of Jacyln Foundation. The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ) is a non-profit, charitable organization that improves the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families. Over the years, the Bears have seen Bebe endure countless cancer treatments and blossom into a joyful child.
This Sunday, Bebe and her family will join the Bears at Levine-Fricke Field. To show just how much she means to this team, CalBears.com asked all the Bears and coaches about what it's like having Bebe as an honorary teammate.
Valerie Arioto -
Bebe is an inspiration to all of us. Her fight and courage are contagious when she is around, and having her as part of the team motivates us to be as strong as her!
Cheyenne Cordes -
Having Bebe as a part of our team motivates us to be the best we can be. If she can battle through everything that she has been through, then we can play our hardest for her on the field. We are very lucky to have Bebe as a part our team because she is fun and full of energy. She always picks us up when we are down.
Ashley Decker -
Frani Echavarria -
Bebe is such an inspiration. We fight to be the top team, but Bebe fights for her life every day. She has an amazing attitude, and I love that every time we see her, she is always happy.
Having Bebe a part of our team has definitely put a lot of things in prospective for me. She has truly touched my heart. What is it like to have her as part of the team? To have her as a part of our team has definitely taught us a life lesson. When we think we fought hard enough for something and we want to give up, we stop and look at Bebe - she's been a fighter since the day she was born.
Arianna Erceg -
Having Bebe being a part of our team is really an incredible thing. She has showed me what a true fighter and believer is, and whenever she is around she brings a smile to all of our faces.
Danielle Henderson -
Bebe has shown me that no matter what if you're motivated to do something it will happen. She is motivated to go on living her life, and that is exactly what she is going to do. Her daily strength and motivation have made me realize that under the worst circumstances there is always something to look forward to and something positive coming from it. Over Christmas break when Bebe opened her gifts, after almost every one she would say, "Oh! Just what I wanted." Then would proceed to say, "What is it?" She is a strong girl that many people should look to.
Jolene Henderson -
I went up to Bebe's house a couple of times, and being with her is such a gift to me. The effect she has on people with her laughter and excitement for life and people is awesome!! One of the times I went up there, we went to a movie together, and she ate the biggest bag of popcorn I had ever seen! I'm so lucky to have met her and been able to be around her!
Victoria Jones -
Having Bebe as a part of the team is very inspiring. Being around such a strong little girl makes me so grateful to have the opportunities that are given to me. Bebe is a very strong girl who has been fighting a strenuous battle every day of her life, and I could only wish to have the strength she has. We threw a Christmas party for Bebe and her family. We spoiled her with gifts, and she loved every single one of them. She could not wait to open the next one. Bebe is a huge member of this organization.
LaRisa Jones -
Having Bebe apart of our softball family is a reality check. When she comes around I think it reminds all of us that there's more in life than just this sport, and that we should be thankful every day that we are healthy and able to wake up and play the game we love.
Breana Kostreba -
Having Bebe as a part of the team has made me feel like we are doing more than just playing a sport - we are making a difference in people's lives. It's great to see the adorable smile she has on when she is with the team.
Mary Lee -
Bebe is such a joyful young girl, whose presence always brings a smile to my face. She helps us keep things in perspective and reminds us of how grateful we should be for everything we have. I am glad to be on a team with such a special young girl.
Assistant Coach Tammy Lohmann -
Bebe has taught me that every day is a gift - a gift that we should cherish and have faith in. Even with struggles, we can overcome with hope and determination. Her quiet strength and spirit that she gives to our team is far more than we could ever give back. I remember having dinner with her family this past summer. Sitting there watching the light and joy in her eyes as we enjoyed some tea at her little table, Bebe taught me that when drinking tea one must keep their pinky finger out. "Coach Tammy, you must hold the cup like this!" It was so cute! Her spirit and love for life is such a great motivation for our team, and inspires each of us to give our all and never give up. We are truly grateful to have Bebe as part of our Bear family.
Head Coach Diane Ninemire -
I think Bebe is a great inspiration for our team. She's really put everything into perspective. She's helped us to have a greater appreciation of getting to participate in softball at such a high level because sometimes we forget how lucky we are. She and her family have to work diligently to appreciate every day and live it to its fullest. I think that's the greatest gift that she has given us - for us to also appreciate every day and to always make the most of every day. She is just a joy to be around.
Nikki Owens -
Bebe is always a great reminder to our team of how incredibly blessed we are. She is an amazing little girl and always has a smile on her face despite all the adversity she has faced in her life. It inspires us to work harder and keep a positive outlook on things. My favorite memory of Bebe was watching her unwrap all her Christmas presents at a little party we had for her because she is so sassy and sharp.
Elia Reid -
Having Bebe as a part of the team is a great opportunity for all of us because it's like we are all her big sisters. We all enjoy getting to see her at our games. My favorite moment with her when she was serving us all lemonade at our get together to see where we would go for regionals last year. And of course the Christmas party we had with her, when we all showered her with gifts. It was definitely a priceless moment.
Jamia Reid -
Having Bebe be a part of this team has showed me that things shouldn't be taken for granted. She has such a big heart. It was really great watching her open all her gifts at the Christmas party because the look on her face was so priceless. Nothing could even compare; we all love to see her smile.
Alex Robben -
Bebe means a lot to all of us. She is such an inspiration to the team in knowing we can overcome anything just as she did.
Jordan Wallace -
Having Bebe as part of the team is very inspirational. She is such strong individual. Knowing that we are able to make her smile and spend time with her touches my heart so deeply. It amazes me that such a young child has been faced with such a plethora of obstacles and yet still enters each day with a smile. I will always remember when we threw a Christmas party for her this past December. She was the happiest and most appreciative little girl. Her face was priceless with every gift she opened. She acted as if that was exactly what she had hoped for. When Bebe hugs me or speaks to me, I end up tearing up after she leaves because of the admiration and love I have for her. She has truly been the inspiration to this team.
Jace Williams -
Bebe is one of the toughest little girls I have ever met. Her strength and courage inspire me to appreciate the simply things in life that many take for granted. She is a fighter, and that is what we all want to be on the softball field and in life after softball. Her spirit and positive attitude inspire me to keep things in perspective and to be grateful for all of the many blessings life has brought me.
Taylor Vincent -
Having Bebe as part of the team has really taught me that even though life gets hard with school and softball, some people have it worse. The way that Bebe stays so positive is an inspiration for me to keep going.
Britt Vonk -
She has been a great inspiration for me! Every time she steps in the room, she has a huge smile on her face, and it makes me realize how important it is to live your life to the fullest!
Lindsey Ziegenhirt -
Bebe is such a special girl who has taught everyone the meaning of fight, perseverance and hope. I remember my freshman year, when she came to our game to throw out the first pitch and she was so tired from her chemotherapy that she slept the whole game. Last year when she came to our game, she was so happy and spunky that it was a total transformation! She is truly a remarkable girl who inspires our team to keep fighting when we get in tough situations.
About Friends of Jaclyn
FOJ matches a child in need of love, support and friendship with a college or high school sports team. After the adoption is completed, the child becomes an extension of the team whereby a unique bond is formed between the team members, the child and the family.
The benefit to all is a personal loving support network that creates a great connection. The result of the FOJ adoption is the child feels involved and each individual team member gains insight into the value of helping others. Additionally, FOJ has seen this relationship forge a closer bond among team members, magnifying the importance of a team operating as a single unit.
Through the adoption relationship, the child is involved in the team through text messaging, emails, phone calls and other forms of communication. Through the wide reaching press coverage, FOJ has helped improve the awareness of pediatric brain tumors.
FOJ has completed over 230 adoptions in over 20 different sports. They currently have over 1,000 schools on a waiting list as FOJ grows from a small organization into a larger one.
Friends of Jaclyn was inspired by Jaclyn Murphy, who was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor, in March 2004, when she was nine-years-old. Jacyln's wish was "for all the children in the hospitals to be healed."
For more information, please consult the Friends of Jaclyn homepage at http://www.friendsofjaclyn.org. You can also learn more about Bebe and her fight at Caringbridge.com/visit/BebeWiggs and BebeWiggs.com.