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Adelphi Panthers Adopt Stefani Through Friends of Jaclyn Foundation

On Saturday, Jan. 23, the Adelphi University women’s basketball team adopted 21-month-old Stefani Felber through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, a nonprofit, charitable organization that improves the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families.

The team first became inspired to become involved with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation after watching an episode of HBO’s Real Sports that featured the foundation. “We showed it to the girls who immediately wanted to become a part of it,” interim head coach Donna Lohrey said.

In February 2009, Stefani was diagnosed with a Diffuse Intrinsic Brain Stem Glioma/Upper Cervical Astrocytoma, which is a tumor of the brain stem. The Felbers were introduced to the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation through another family also battling the disease and were paired with the Adelphi women’s team. The original adoption was scheduled for September 2009, but due to a bout of set backs in Stefani’s treatment, the date was delayed.

The team was matched with the Felber family of Nesconset, NY, which includes mom, Shannon, dad, Hansi along with Stefani and siblings Arianna and Benjamin. Although the team has been in contact through Stefani’s website (www.stepasidecancer.com) and has sent cards and gifts throughout the year, Saturday marked the first face-to-face meeting with the family.

After Stefani’s diagnosis and an unsuccessful craniotomy, she immediately began a 15-month-long protocol of alternative medicines from Canada and chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering to treat her tumor. Currently, Stefani is entering her sixth cycle and has had a 70-75 percent reduction in the tumor size.

Doctors are hopeful at this point with Stefani’s condition, but she may have a lifelong battle on her hands and it’s still too early to tell for sure. What is certain is that the Panthers are committed to cheering on Stefani. “Stefani will forever be a member of the Adelphi women’s basketball team,” Lohrey added.

The post-game reception, which was attended by the women’s team, along with their parents, coaches and Adelphi administrators, was the first opportunity for the team to interact with the Felbers, as well as the representatives from the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. In addition to meeting the family, T-shirts were also sold during the game, with $438 raised for the foundation.

 For more information on the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, go to www.friendsofJaclyn.org.