JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Last Monday, the Jacksonville softball team held a special ceremony celebrating the adoption of seven-year-old Madi Hoskins. Hoskins was introduced to the team through the Friends of Jaclyn organization, which works to pair pediatric cancer patients with local high school and collegiate sports teams.
Hoskins was diagnosed with Leukemia on Feb. 1, 2017 when she was just five years old. During the first year after her diagnosis Hoskins suffered through a lot of pain, fevers, and other side effects of the testing and treatment she underwent.
To make matters worse, Hoskins' mother lives in Ohio, where she's able to make more money than if she worked in Florida. Her mother sends everything home to her family, making it difficult to afford to travel and see them.
In October of 2018, Hoskins had to be admitted to the hospital for 13 days after she was diagnosed with viral meningitis. It was two months later that Friends of Jaclyn reached out to Jacksonville softball and said they had a child in the area they were looking to pair with a local team.
"I thought it was a no brainer," said head coach Erica Ayers. "We've been looking for something meaningful to do for someone else, so when this opportunity presented itself we thought it was perfect."
Today, Hoskins is under maintenance and has started chemotherapy pills and steroids at home. As the 2019 softball season rolls around Hoskins will be invited to all special events, games, and team activities.
"Most importantly, we plan to spend time with her away from softball and be big sisters and friends as often as we can…This whole thing is all about doing something for someone else and about being a support system for Madi. Our doors will be open to Madi all year long, and I hope we have as much fight in us as she's had in her since being diagnosed," said Ayers.
Hoskins' last chemotherapy treatment is scheduled for April of 2019.