May 2, 2012
BERKELEY - For the third consecutive year, California softball's Friends of Jaclyn adoptee Bebe and her family made the trip to Levine-Fricke Field to take in a Golden Bear game, but the changes that have occurred in Bebe since her first game in 2010 and this year are nothing short of miraculous.
Fatigued beyond belief by cancer treatments during her first Cal outing two years ago, Bebe's father Geoff had to throw out the first pitch while Bebe slept in his arms. Last year, Bebe threw out the first pitch by herself. Before the April 29 game, not only did Bebe throw out the first pitch, but she also enjoyed a warm-up dance session, gave the Bears a pre-game speech then signed autographs for anyone and everyone after the game.
"Bebe is a fighter, and the transformation between two years ago and now is amazing," junior catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt said. "It was so inspirational to see her so happy!"
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.
"Having Bebe at the game made me feel so blessed to have her as part of our lives," junior pitcher Jolene Henderson said. "She gave us a pre-game speech where she said you can win and always be yourself. She may be five-years-old, but she is wise beyond her years. Getting the chance to be a part of her life makes Cal softball the luckiest team out there."
Bebe and her family's visit to the field was only one of many encounters with the Golden Bears. The Cal softball team and coaches hosted a holiday party for Bebe and her family in December, when they bestowed gifts upon Bebe. She also watched the Bears learn their 2012 postseason fate at the selection show party. Even if she isn't present, the Bears are constantly reminded of Bebe for she has her own locker and lounge chair inside the California softball team's locker room at the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance, and BW stickers adorn the batting helmets.
"Bebe puts everything in perspective for me!" Jace Williams said. "Life is fragile and no day is ever guaranteed. She is such a strong little warrior, it really inspires me! It's absolutely amazing having her around. She lights any room she walks into and can lift anyone's spirit. What an incredible little girl!"
To read more about just how incredible an impact Bebe has made on all of the Bears, please click here to read a Q&A.
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.