The Ohio State softball team has a new addition this season.
The team has adopted 12-year-old Sammy Hardy through the Safe on the Sidelines program, which helps the brothers and sisters of
terminally ill children.
Sammy’s 9-year-old brother Ryan has been adopted by Ohio Dominican’s men’s basketball team through the Friends of Jaclyn program.
Ryan was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor when he was 2, OSU softball coach Linda Kalafatis said.
The Northwestern women’s lacrosse team helped Jaclyn, a young lacrosse player, through her illness which later lead to the organization that helps many other children like her.
The program is meant to help those with pediatric brain tumors connect with a sports team.
The OSU softball team will do the same with Sammy.
Coach Kalafatis was interested in the Friends of Jaclyn program but was worried how the potential loss would effect the team. When she heard about the Safe on the Sidelines program, it seemed like a great alternative.
The softball team met Sammy the second week of school and has been in contact with her ever since.
As a Buckeye, Sammy will be invited to “attend practices, games and team bonding activities to help give her extra attention her parents may just not have time to give in their situation,” said Emily Meyer of athletics communications.
So far the team and Sammy have gotten along very well and have spent a great deal of time with her.
Softball players have taken Sammy to the climbing wall, out for ice cream and even went to watch one of Sammy’s basketball games.
“Our mission is to brighten Sammy’s life a little bit,” Kalafatis said.
Sammy was officially introduced as a member of the team at one of the team’s scrimmages Feb. 6.
The softball team has created signs for Sammy and they plan to give her a jersey and a locker with her nameplate.
Sammy will be a part of the softball team for “as long as she wants to be involved,” Kalafatis said.