STORRS, Conn. - She is the girl on the sidelines that never goes unnoticed. She is the girl at the end of the player tunnel who gives the girls their last high-fives and good lucks before the game. She is also the girl who celebrates alongside the team with her own special victory dance each time the Huskies score a goal. That girl is five-year old Quinn Ostergren, the youngest member of the UConn women’s soccer team.
In 2014, UConn women’s soccer partnered with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. The organization pairs children battling pediatric brain tumors with high school and college sports teams as a means of providing love, friendship and support throughout treatment. Quinn was diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytoma at just two years old.
The squad held an official adoption ceremony in February of 2014, welcoming then four-year-old Quinn Ostergren from nearby Tolland. Quinn received her very own UConn women’s soccer jersey and began lasting relationships with all of the players. Quinn was present all through last season as she continued her quest to beat the disease with the Huskies’ support as she proceeds with chemotherapy sessions.
“To say the Huskies have adopted Quinn is a gross understatement, not doing justice to how completely they have enriched Quinn’s life. The players have gone above and beyond to make their favorite child happy: They make videos to make her laugh. They come over the Ostergren house for holidays like Easter. They have attended chemo sessions, gone on family vacations with the Ostergrens; they also text Quinn’s mom constantly for updates on how she and Quinn are doing, and they make Quinn a part of team practices,” the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation said.
In November of 2014, Quinn finished her last chemotherapy treatment, and her biggest concern was that she wouldn’t get to be a part of the UConn women’s soccer team anymore.
“I laughed and told her ‘no, honey, you’re on the team forever” Quinn’s mother, Alyssa Ostergren assured, “She was so scared that she wouldn’t get to hang out with her best friends anymore, because the chemo had ended.”
Quinn’s mom was right, she will always be a part of the UConn women’s soccer family. Quinn will be present throughout the 2015 season, and hopes her special victory dances will lead to another American Athletic Conference Championship.
The team welcomed Quinn with the idea she would be the team’s number one fan, but what they didn’t expect was to gain a best friend and a new teammate, “She has so much love and support - we couldn’t be any happier to have her as a part of the team,” senior Samantha McGuire said.
“This whole experience with UConn has been amazing, and life-changing for all of us,” Alyssa said. “The hardest part for Quinn is that some players graduate every year, but we’ve been so lucky that the new players care about her just as much.”
For a full story on Quinn’s journey, visit: http://friendsofjaclyn.org/the-foj-experience/