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Lady Mocs Welcome New Family Member Through Friends of Jaclyn Foundation

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – On Friday, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team introduced a new member, Amanda Swartout, to its squad. Through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, Swartout joined the team for practice on the fields adjacent to Frost Stadium and now has a locker inside the Lady Mocs Indoor Practice Facility for the 2010-11 season.

This has been an extremely busy week for Swartout, who was originally scheduled to be introduced to the team prior to Saturday’s Blue-Gold game, but Swartout and her family will instead be in transit to Hawaii courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is the second planned trip as one in August was rescheduled due to sickness.

“This is a really awesome experience to be able to touch a life,” said senior second baseman Kristin Holloway (Chickamauga, Ga). “I feel like she is going to be more of blessing to the team and I am looking so forward to everything that she is going to be able to do with us.”

The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation has helped children with pediatric cancer be a part of numerous athletic teams over the past couple of years. Head coach Frank Reed and the softball team adopted Swartout into their family as a part of the program.

“We decided to get involved with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation,” said Reed. “Because it is great to do something as a team and give back to our community. We are excited to have her be apart of our team and be here for the season.”

At practice, Swartout meet each member of the team and exchanged stories and information about one another. It was evident that as the meet and greet went on Swartout became more comfortable and opened up with the team.

Swartout is a 12-year old girl who was diagnosed with brain cancer on Oct. 19, 2009. The tumor is located in the center of her head right above the thalamus, a very difficult area to treat with no-known cause or cure.

After being diagnosed, she went through two brain resections over the next month, removing just about 80 percent of the tumor. The Harrison, Tenn., native went through six-and-a-half weeks of radiation therapy and now is a part of a study to see the effectiveness of an oral chemo medication.

Despite all of the troubles that she has gone through, Swartout finished fifth grade in May and has moved to sixth grade at OLPH. She missed a couple weeks after school started and one of the teachers came to the hospital to work with her, but she still kept in touch with the class via Skype.

Throughout her battle with cancer, she has been involved with organizations through St. Jude, which enrolls all patients into the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Swartout returns to St. Jude once a quarter for an MRI and gets her lab work checked at Erlanger in between visits.

Lana’s Love is another foundation in which Swartout has attended some planned community events. The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation was found by her mother, Kay Swartout, through a friend and fellow parent last year.

“We went to the ESPN website and watched the story about Jaclyn Murphy,” said Kay Swartout about finding out about the organization, which can be found through the link at the top of the page. “We then made the phone call to get involved with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. It took awhile to get in touch with them, but I was extremely excited to find out that the softball team was going to adopt her.”

The Lady Mocs host their Blue-Gold Game on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. inside Frost Stadium. Prior to the event, the team celebrates its 2010 season with a ring ceremony and unveiling the program’s 12th Southern Conference Regular Season banner.

Head Coach Frank Reed

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