Amherst Hosts Fifth Annual Friends of Jaclyn Race

Contact: Matthew Hart

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AMHERST, Mass. – Participants and supporters turned out en masse on an idyllic spring day as Amherst College hosted the fifth annual Friends of Jaclyn 5k Race on Sunday, April 28, in an effort to raise money and awareness for the organization.

Over 200 runners and walkers participated in the event, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. Organized by Julien Aoyama ’14, Leah-Grace Cerf ’13 and a committee drawn largely from the men’s soccer team, the race drew participants from many of Amherst’s varsity programs as well as dozens of other students, faculty, staff, and community members.

The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation was started in 2005 by Denis and Lynda Murphy, whose daughter, Jaclyn, had been adopted as an honorary member of the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team while she was undergoing treatment for a malignant brain tumor. The foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families by pairing them with college and high school athletic teams.

The program arrived at Amherst in the fall of 2007 when the men’s soccer team adopted Michael Lanosa, a nine-year old with a brain tumor. It has now grown to reach over 300 children and athletic programs nationwide.

Amherst’s FOJ races have yielded hundreds of runners and thousands of dollars for the foundation, with the school notably receiving the NADIIIAA/Jostens Community Service Award for its work with the Race/Walk in 2010.

“I am constantly amazed at our students’ tireless dedication to community engagement,” said head men’s soccer coach Justin Serpone. “No matter how much success Amherst achieves athletically, it pales in comparison to the positive impact that our student-athletes can have by bettering the community.”

The event also featured a keynote address from FOJ founder Denis Murphy.

“The Friends of Jaclyn Race at Amherst every year is one of the highlights of the FOJ schedule,” said Murphy. “The annual commitment that it takes to put on this event is so inspiring.”

For more information on the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, please visit the FOJ website.