HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University women’s lacrosse team has a new member. The team adopted Makayla Compton, a 15-year-old from Lexington, N.C., through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. It’s a non-profit organization that pairs up children and their families battling pediatric brain tumors with college and high school sports teams.
“Friends of Jaclyn is an amazing organization that gives support to individuals and families who are dealing with cancer,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “Being involved also provides great perspective for members of our team. Once she gets comfortable with our group, we’re looking forward to giving Makayla day-to-day support and getting her involved with practices, getting her out to games and on the sidelines with us.”
Members of the team and coaching staff met Makayla and her father, Brian, for the first time on Wednesday at HPU’s Wanek Center.
“We’re excited to get Makayla involved with our team and watch her in her journey as she gets better,” said senior Christie Dougherty. “Hopefully our team can make a positive impact for Makayla and her family and I’m really excited to see how the team reacts to having Makayla as part of our program.”
Makayla’s father, Brian, said that she was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor, on April 18, 2011 and had her first surgery two days later. She went through radiation and chemotherapy treatments and was cancer-free as of October 2013.
“She’s still in the five-year window of remission but everything is looking good so far,” said Brian Compton. “It seems like this team is a great fit for Makayla. She needs friendship and to get out and do things. I’m hoping that Makayla can learn something from the team and the team can learn something from Makayla too.”
There were several special guests in attendance on Wednesday. Jaclyn Murphy, who the foundation is named after, and her father, Dennis, came to HPU from New York. Jaclyn is a cancer survivor and is now a student at Marist College. Dave and Olivia LaVack, father and sister of Mason LaVack, were also in attendance.
The team previously adopted Mason LaVack through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. He passed away in 2011. The team dedicated its 2012 season to Mason and won the National Lacrosse Conference regular season title.
“Our mission is to improve the quality of life for children who are battling pediatric brain tumors,” said Dennis Murphy. “Once the children are diagnosed, their lives are turned upside down. We try to give them something back by pairing them up with teams who can give them love, support and friendship and make them an honorary member of the team.”
The HPU women’s lacrosse team begins its fourth season in 2014, which will be its second in the Big South Conference. High Point won the Big South title and advanced to its first NCAA Tournament in 2013. The Panthers open the season on Feb. 8 against American University at Vert Stadium.