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Local Non-Profit and Binghamton University Athletics Team-Up

Bearcats Buddies program developed to provide better quality of life for pediatric cancer patients

December 14, 2011

Local Non-Profit and Binghamton University Athletics Team-Up

Contact: Kim King, Assistant Director of Athletics (607-777-4593)

VESTAL, N.Y.—The Binghamton University athletics department, along with local non-profit ‘A Room to Heal’ and student group Colleges Against Cancer are proud to announce a new joint initiative coined ‘Bearcats Buddies’. The program is designed to improve the quality of life for children diagnosed with cancer.

Last Spring, a pilot program was held partnering five-year old local resident Rachel Polhamus with the BU Women’s Lacrosse team. Polhamus was treated for bilateral retinoblastoma when she was a toddler. “Our team really enjoys being a part of the Bearcats Buddies program. It is a great chance for us to give back to the community in a way that can lift the spirits of a child and their family. We have had fun getting to know our buddy Rachel and can’t wait to have her at our games this Spring.” says Allie Sabitus, a Binghamton University senior who helped bring the program to campus. The teams now looking for a child to “adopt” are the volleyball and softball teams.

The mission of Bearcats Buddies is to “create a new support network for a child through an ‘adoption’ process during a time when the child and family are most in need.” The main idea behind the program is to pair a pediatric cancer patient with one of Binghamton’s 21 intercollegiate teams.

The program was developed based on the model of an already existing organization called the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. Bearcats Buddies will mirror the national organization and use their model to launch its initiative with its main goal to provide support to all pediatric cancer patients.


The Bearcats Buddies program hopes to create a caring and compassionate atmosphere to assist and maintain recovery efforts. The children’s involvement could include: “ceremonial” adoption, attendance at games and practices, supportive messages and possible visits to the children’s homes or hospitals by the student-athletes. Bearcats Buddies plans to offer exciting and educational experiences for all participating in the program.

The criteria to qualify for Bearcats Buddies are: children ages 5 to 14 and the child must be in current treatment, or at least two years from initial diagnosis.

For more information about Bearcats Buddies, or if you know of someone who might be interested, e-mail:

More information about A Room to Heal can be found at:


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