The Rhodes College baseball team had a special visitor to campus Jan. 21. The Lynx welcomed Aiden Taylor, a Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ) participant, to Stauffer Field in a special adoption ceremony. The mission at FOJ is to improve the quality of life for children and their families battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers and to spread awareness. They do this by pairing the child and their siblings with local high school and college sports teams, campus clubs, and arts programs in their community.
Aiden, a 12-year-old battling metastatic medulloblastoma, signed a letter of intent to be a Lynx, handed out “Aiden's Avengers” bracelets to the team, threw out the first pitch, and even got in some batting practice later in the afternoon. After the adoption formalities and a television interview, Aiden chatted for hours with his new teammates. His parents, Josh and Lisa, and brother, Braxton, attended the adoption ceremony with him. “Friends of Jaclyn has given Aiden the opportunity to come to Rhodes after treatment and escape the hospital life for a minute,” said Lisa Taylor.
“The collaboration with Aiden, his family, and Friends of Jaclyn really gives our team perspective and helps them understand that life is more than one exam or one baseball game,” said Jeff Cleanthes, head baseball coach and director of athletics at Rhodes. “This will give Aiden 42 more best buds to help motivate him in his extremely tough situation.”
“This is a big opportunity for us to share Aiden’s story and what it means for him,” said Rhodes sophomore center fielder Paul Giacomazzi.
Aiden was diagnosed with metastatic medulloblastoma in 2014, which went into remission after treatment. The cancer has now returned, and Aiden will be receiving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital here in Memphis. The Taylor family is waiting to hear from the FDA on approval for a new treatment trial, but in the meantime, they will be creating special memories with their new Rhodes family.