Athletics

Amherst Field Hockey Loses Friend and Honorary Teammate

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The Amherst field hockey team welcomed 4-year-old Erin last fall.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College field hockey team lost an honorary member of its team to a lifelong battle with brain cancer this weekend, and will forever honor the life and friendship of Erin Roderick. The Amherst field hockey team and Erin were brought together last year through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, in a relationship that brought joy into the lives of not only Erin and the Lord Jeffs, but Erin’s seven-year-old brother, Jack, and her parents, Jim and Michelle.

The Amherst field hockey team is one of a handful of teams on campus to adopt a child through the Friends of Jaclyn organization (http://www.friendsofjaclyn.org/), a program that matches pediatric brain tumor patients with college and high school athletic teams.

Last fall, Erin and her family came to Amherst to spend a practice running around with the team, and learning about field hockey.  Jim and Michelle brought both Erin and Jack back to Amherst, where the Rodericks took in all the sights and action of a Lord Jeff game at Gooding Field. The family spent the day cheering for Amherst from the sidelines, before spending some one-on-one time with the team after the game ended. The players sent care packages and letters to Erin, hoping to brighten her day and just keep her up-to-date.

Head coach Carol Knerr explains that the team is “so grateful to the Rodericks for sharing Erin and their family with us, and for teaching us the very important life lessons of being there for one another, and cherishing every moment. Erin’s spirit will live on in our program and continue to inspire us. We look forward to keeping up our relationship with Jim, Michelle and Jack.”

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The Lord Jeffs will always remember their time spent with Erin and her family.

Amherst junior Molly Malloy adds that “from the first day Erin became our adopted teammate, excitement and compassion would reverberate through us all. For the Rodericks to share Erin with us was not only a decision they made, but a sacrifice. Her joy for life and her unyielding open heart touched us all, and I know we are all truly grateful. She was a beautiful little girl that will continue to influence each member of the Amherst College field hockey team -- we will fight harder, love more freely and openly, face challenges with determination and optimism, and battle through to the very last second.”

Malloy shares that “losing Erin was the most difficult thing most of us have suffered through in a very long time, if not in our entire lives. We wish the best to the Roderick family as they struggle through this difficult time, and can only hope they will continue to be a part of our lives, as we hope to be a part of theirs. I feel truly blessed to have known Erin; throughout our season, news of her day-to-day activities regularly motivated me as an individual. I know she will live on in our hearts and memories forever.”

While Erin will not be on the sidelines at Amherst next season, her memory will never be far from the hearts of the Amherst team. Please visit Erin’s website at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/erinroderick to learn more about her life.