Video of Adoption Ceremony
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. –
Vanessa Moresi was formally introduced to the Temple softball family on Monday afternoon, May 16, as the team “adopted” the six-year old Vanessa through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ).
The adoption is the first for the Temple softball team, which was inspired by the Owls' lacrosse program that participates in the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation with its adoptee, Lily Adkins.
“We got involved through Bonnie Rosen
, Temple's lacrosse head coach,” said Joe DiPietro
, head softball coach at Temple. “She told me about Lily, and what the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation was, so I contacted them and told them if there was ever another little girl who was interested in softball, we would love to get involved.”
The squad was matched up with Vanessa in the beginning of April. She is a tee-ball player from South Philadelphia who was extremely excited to be a part of the Temple softball team.
“I was super excited to come here today,” beamed Vanessa, who would be celebrating her sixth birthday the next day. “I was really, really happy.”
Vanessa has been undergoing chemotherapy for Neurofibromatosis (NF) Type 1 since November of last year, after being diagnosed with the multisystem genetic disorder when she was three.
She is the daughter of Joe and Joanne Moresi, and also has a four-year old sister named Sofia. The family will attend Temple's softball games in the fall, and this summer, the TU players who are in the area plan to attend some of Vanessa's tee-ball games.
“She's great,” commented Joanne. “Every Thursday, she gets the chemo in the morning and the thing she thinks is the worst thing about that is that she has to miss school because Italian class is on Thursday!”
Vanessa, her mom and Sofia made the trip to Temple for the adoption ceremony.
“She keeps me strong. Me and my husband, she keeps us strong,” said Joanne.
“When we met them for the first time, Joanne had warned me that Vanessa was very outgoing,” said DiPietro. “Our girls were a little stunned by that. They thought they were going to meet this meek little kid who's sick, and she came in and started chatting with everyone and she was just awesome.”
“We're going to incorporate Vanessa into the Temple softball family,” said DiPietro. “We're going to do everything we can to make her time with us happy. Hopefully we can help get her through this.”
The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, formed in 2005, is a non-profit, charitable organization that improves the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families.
FOJ matches a child in need of love, support and friendship with a college or high school sports team based on geographic basis. Through a due diligence process, the foundation screens for the best match based on the child and family's needs and the team, coach and athletic director's commitment to the foundation's goals.
After the adoption is completed, the child becomes an extension of the team where 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 unique bond. 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 forges 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, facebook and twitter postings. 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. It currently has over 1,000 schools on a waiting list as FOJ grows from a small organization into a larger one.
For more information, visit www.friendsofjaclyn.org.