Fordham’s Youngest Teammate Gets Hero’s Welcome


Football Team Adopts a New Team Member, Jonah Shainberg, a 12-year-old Cancer Survivor and New York City Native for the Rest of the 2013 Season



Fordham Sports information Fordham football captains presented Jonah with his very own locker, full of Fordham apparell and a signed football.
Fordham Sports information Fordham football captains presented Jonah with his very own locker, full of Fordham apparell and a signed footbaTwelve-year-old cancer survivor Jonah Shainberg is an avid football fan; this past Thursday, he had the opportunity to score a touchdown for his adopted team.

Last week, the Fordham football team adopted Jonah as a teammate for the 2013 season through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.

According to Joshua Shainberg, Jonah’s father, being a part of this team is the dream of a lifetime for his son.

“[Jonah] was psyched,” Shainberg said. “He loves football. We just found out before we came to the Nova game and he was like ‘Dad, when are we coming?’”

The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation said the pairing could not have been better.

“We try to pair teams up locally, so we saw he was right by Fordham,” Katie Johnson, adoption coordinator for the Foundation, said.

The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation began in 2004 with a mission to help children and their families suffering with brain tumors to get the best quality of life possible. The Foundation pairs children with college and high school teams to give them an additional new family for support.

The whole concept started with nine-year-old Jaclyn Murphy, who benefited from becoming an adopted team member of the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team.

Johnson also said this is probably one of the quickest adoptions the organization has ever seen. Usually the whole process takes a few weeks for everyone to answer their emails and get back in touch with the foundation.

“With Fordham, it took about a day,” she said.

Michelle DeIeso, the executive director for the foundation, pointed to Fordham’s history for the adoption’s rapid success.

“We knew how good working with this team was from their work with Ty [Campbell],” DeIeso said, referencing Fordham’s adopted teammate from last year.

Shainberg said that his family was actually visiting the Botanical Gardens when they got the phone call.

He said his son, a New York City native, had a grin on his face for the rest of their trip that day.

Jonah finally got the chance to watch some football at Fordham’s final practice before their game against Temple this past weekend.

Head coach Joe Moorhead closed out his main practice with a team huddle before sending his first string offense and defense back out onto the field with just a player short on the offense. Moorhead then signaled to the sideline for Jonah to come out to the offensive huddle.

Moorhead and quarterback Michael Nebrich, FCRH ’15, filled him in on the play. Jonah lined up at running back and received the handoff from Nebrich.

Within seconds, Jonah was off racing for the endzone and beating a few defensemen along the way. After he scored, his teammates raced after him and lifted him onto their shoulders, carrying him into the locker room.

There he received his very own locker complete with Fordham gear, such as a signed football by the team and new football apparel. Afterwards, Jonah had the honor of leading the team breakdown.

The team then accompanied Jonah and his father for a team dinner in the Marketplace.

Moorhead also gave Jonah an exclusive look into the team film room, showing him the process of breaking down tape to prepare for a game.

Jonah was just six years old when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He had to undergo numerous surgeries for approximately two years.

Doctors were able to remove the tumor, but all of the stress from the surgeries caused Jonah to have a stroke, which weakened his entire right side. Currently, Jonah attends physical therapy to help strengthen his body.

Right now, though, Jonah is focused on being the team’s newest Ram. Shainberg agreed this is a great season to be a part of the program.

The Rams currently have a 3-0 record for the first time in 25 years after upsetting FBS opponent Temple just two days after Jonah’s adoption ceremony.