The Manhattanville men’s basketball team received a special gift about 18 months ago, now the team is now working to return the favor.
Despite continuing battles with brain tumors, A.J. Buchanan, 14 at the time, joined the Valiants basketball team in the spring of 2010 as an honorary player. Although the teen never played in any games, head coach Pat Scanlon called him the team’s most valuable contributor.
“A.J. has been a true blessing not only for our team, but for our college, families and friends,” said Scanlon. “He has been an unbelievable inspiration to everyone. His courage and strength would be amazing for any person, but especially so for someone so young.”
In August A.J. learned that his brain tumors had returned and that he would need to go to the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center for treatment. But the team hadn’t forgotten about A.J, and players have sent packages and visited him at the hospital.
This season the basketball team is selling T-shirts to raise money for A.J. and his family while they continue to go through this difficult time. It’s a way of returning the favor to a teenager who has inspired the team and even the college over the last year and a half.
“The love, support and friendship that the Manhattanville basketball team has given to A.J. have truly made a difference,” said Suzanne Jacobs, adoption coordinator at the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, which paired A.J with the team.
The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation has placed more than 300 children battling brain tumors with college teams.
The Valiants are encouraging anyone interested in buying a shirt to e-mail coach Scanlon, or call (914)-323-7271.
“Our team is so fortunate in having a teammate to teach us so much about how we live,” Scanlon said. “W need A.J. to rejoin us on the bench where he excels at encouraging our players and getting on the refs.”