The University of Florida’s Men’s Club Lacrosse team has recently signed off on a new player. He may be a little shorter, a little younger and a little greener than the rest of the team, but he is stronger than the entire team combined. Ka’Narius Strong is his name and lacrosse is his game. Ka’Narius is a nine-year-old fighter of neuroblastoma in which he was diagnosed at age 2. The team has recently partnered with the organization “Friends of Jaclyn” to welcome Ka’Narius; his brother, Ezekiel; and his mother, Sharmeka, into their family.
“Friends of Jaclyn” is an organization that enables children who are battling pediatric brain cancer to affiliated with nearby high school and college sports teams as a way to raise awareness and improve the children’s’ quality of life. Denis Murphry, father of Jaclyn, started this organization after her daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer and became a part of Northwestern team. He attended the signing of Ka’Narius on Thursday night.
“Our motto is to live in the moment, play in the moment,” Murphry said.
The Men’s Club Lacrosse Team welcomed Ka’Narius and the family to the team in a very special ceremony. It began with a short ice-breaker to create a welcoming environment for the kids. Each player on the team went around the room and introduced themselves, said where they were from and included a fun fact. Ka’Narius with his outgoing attitude, reacted in the most excited and happy way possible. His enthusiasm lightened the entire room, putting a smile and a lot of laughter to everyone’s face.
“The only thing he has is just me and his brother,” Sharmeka said.
The Men’s Club Lacrosse Team is working on different ways to welcome Ka’Narius onto their team. Since their practices are late at night, it will be difficult for the family to attend, but there will be an open invitation to every home game played.
“Ka’Narius is always welcome in our huddle,” Garret Hanrahan, team coach said.
“We’re also hoping to be able to hang out with him on a regular basis on his schedule, whether it’s dinner, ice cream or visiting his school for lunch.”
Hanahan said the team will be providing the family with phone numbers and e-mails where they can reach the players as needed. This is a way for the team and the family to stay connected throughout the entire process. The team has three core principles in which they use to work on and off the field. These principles are: hard work, accountability and brotherhood. They show their hard work through their dedication to the team and to the school. Hanrahan said they are able to represent this principle on and off the field with support from the Gator Nation.
“To me, the opportunity to help is part of both accountability and brotherhood,” Hanrahan said.
“Welcoming Ka’Narius to our team and doing our small part in making a positive impact on his life and his family’s life is a way for us to be accountable to our community and to share our brotherhood with folks in need.”
Sport Club Intern