DURHAM, N.H. – Andrew Silsby (Newfields, N.H.) became the newest member of the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team. The Wildcats officially adopted the 12-year-old in a locker room ceremony on Wednesday afternoon following a team practice.
The Wildcats connected with Andrew through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ), a charitable non-profit organization that strives to enhance and strengthen the support system built around children with pediatric brain tumors. Through the program, adopted children become part of the team and build unique friendships.
Children also gain an incredible group of caring role models to look up to when they need extra support. FOJ places children with teams according to geographical proximity.
Andrew was diagnosed with, Pilocytic Astrocytoma a brain tumor, when he was 5. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor. With a positive outlook and a good prognosis, he proudly becomes part of the UNH hockey family.
Andrew was connected to the UNH hockey team through a pair of UNH students who work for FOJ. Seniors Stacia Boynton and Brittany Thompson are instrumental in bringing Andrew to the men's hockey program. In fact, Brittany is the younger sister of former UNH All-America selection Paul Thompson and the cousin of Wildcat standout Mike Souza.
Silsby becomes a member of the men's hockey team for life. However, Silsby's connection to UNH started long before Wednesday's adoption, as the local boy has been coming to men's hockey games with his mom Sue since he was 2.
Silsby brought a large family contingent to the rink on Wednesday. They were joined by Boynton and Denis Murphy, the founder of the Friends of Jaclyn. Murphy and his daughter Jaclyn, for whom the charity is named, went through a similar ordeal of their own. Jaclyn was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 9. She was the first of 384 adoptions and is currently an 18-year-old freshman at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
UNH head coach Dick Umile and senior captain Connor Hardowa were pleased to formally welcome Silsby with a hat and t-shirt, which is just the start of a lifetime partnership.
Friends of Jaclyn's Adopt-A-Child program is based on love, support and friendship between the child, the team, and the child's family.
Currently, there are over 1,200 teams on the waiting list for FOJ's adoption program nationwide. For more information on the FriendsofJaclyn visit www.friendsofjaclyn.org.
For more information on Andrew's journey and the UNH Friends of Jaclyn visit www.facebook.com/UnhFriendsOfJaclyn.
For more information on UNH men's hockey visit UNHWildcats.com.