Over 400 guests attended the Inaugural Event Chaired by Coach Bill Belichick
7/2/2010, Quincy, MA — Jay Calnan of J. Calnan & Associates; Dan Kraft of The Kraft Group and Bob Coughlin of the MBC recently teamed up with Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Kathryn Tappen of NESN to raise awareness for Friends of Jaclyn, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors. The inaugural gala held on June 17th at the InterContinental included a VIP reception, silent and live auction as well as a dinner program and was well attended by leaders in the Boston business, medical and athletic communities.
Chairman of the event, Jay Calnan opened the night thanking Co-Chairs, Dan Kraft and Bob Coughlin, the sponsors as well as the guests, “The foundation is truly remarkable and has a positive, lasting effect on children suffering with pediatric brain tumors and their families. Tonight is about bringing time, resources and attention to this most deserving cause and we genuinely appreciate everyone’s dedication and commitment.”
Dan Kraft recognized and introduced the Honorary Chairperson, Bill Belichick. “Bill does a lot in this community and doesn’t get a lot recognition. I know he likes it that way. But for him to step up on this inaugural event and become the honorary chair, I think speaks volumes about him and his commitment to this organization.”
Belichick said it was an honor to be asked to serve in the role because he believes “Friends of Jaclyn” is a “brilliant concept”, pairing college athletic teams with children battling pediatric brain tumors. “When you’re a part of a team, it’s such a great feeling. I preach to our players, I talk to them all the time about the power the team has when people unite and they have the same feeling and the same common goal, and they strive for that relentlessly without a selfish motive, and what you can get to and accomplish with that.
Bob Coughlin thanked the medical community and stressed that we need to create more awareness in the hospitals to reach these children and their families. “There are more than 3000 children diagnosed with a brain tumor every year and we have a waiting list of teams who want to adopt these children. We need your help finding them.”
Jay Calnan became involved with the foundation not too long ago after watching an HBO special highlighting Friends of Jaclyn and was immediately “sold” on the concept of pairing collegiate athletes with sick children and moved by the raw emotion shown by Denis Murphy and his then 9 year old daughter Jaclyn. “As a father, former college athlete and businessman, I knew that J. Calnan & Associates had to do more than just “write a check” to another great cause. We were going to get involved at the ground level. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be part of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and thrilled that the inaugural gala is generating much needed awareness and funds for the organization.”
Denis Murphy called Belichick and event co-chairs Jay Calnan, Robert Coughlin and executive vice president of the Kraft Group, Daniel Kraft, “angels.”
Friends of Jaclyn (FOJ) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors. Through the “Adopt a Child” program, children battling this insidious disease are paired with college or high school sports teams. The foundation’s programs are based on love, support and friendship between the child, the child’s family and his or her “adopted” team as the child becomes an honorary team member. The gift is in the relationship. The child gains a new support network of loving friends and the team learns to see the world with new eyes. The foundation was inspired by Jaclyn Murphy, who was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor, in March 2004 when she was nine-years-old. Jaclyn’s strength, courage, relentless spirit, and joy for life are an inspiration to those who know her. Jaclyn’s wish is “for all the children in the hospitals to be healed.”
To date, there are over 200 children paired with collegiate and high school teams in 20 different sports across the country. There are over 1,300 schools waiting to adopt.