Skip to content

Serving the Community

  • by

Community service can often feel like another item that needs to be checked off the list in order to fulfill the expectations of building a strong resume. It can also feel meaningful and life-changing. This was the case for Lydia Nathan, currently a junior broadcasting major at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY. The daughter of Buffy and Andy Nathan, she was exposed to volunteering at a very young age. Her mother, Buffy, has been volunteering with Friends of Jaclyn since Lydia was 5 years old. Community service has been instilled in Lydia her whole life. She attended FOJ events, adoptions, and saw firsthand the impact of love, support, and friendship on adoptees battling for their lives. Lydia took her passion for helping others to another level.

Lydia’s journey…

“For as long as I can remember, the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation has been an impactful component of my life. Friends of Jaclyn is a non-profit organization that pairs children with pediatric cancers & other childhood diseases to sports teams, clubs, & community groups. My mother, Buffy Nathan, has been a volunteer and advocate for this organization for over 15 years. She first met founder and CEO, Denis Murphy, in the corporate world. Denis shared Friends of Jaclyn’s mission with my mother, and she instantly felt inspired to pursue this philanthropic cause.

My mother began her journey through Friends of Jaclyn first by “behind-the-scenes” tasks then to coordinating adoptions. I witnessed her passion for children blossom! My mother often traveled to various universities across the country with Friends of Jaclyn. As a child, my favorite part of her returning from these trips would be the gifts I would receive–not knowing there was such a larger impact. Looking back, that was just the beginning of my experience with this beloved foundation.

I was in the second grade when I had my first encounter with childhood cancer. My fellow classmate moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Bowling Green, Kentucky. As we grew closer in friendship, she revealed she was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of two. I informed my mother of the news, & she soon contacted my classmate’s mother. My mother shared with her about Friends of Jaclyn. A few months later, my classmate & her sister were adopted at Western Kentucky University, a university located in Bowling Green. My classmate was paired with Western’s softball team, & her sister was paired with Western’s soccer team. Their adoption ceremony is one of my earliest & fondest memories with Friends of Jaclyn.

Fast forward to the present, I am now a junior at Western. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcasting with an Athletic Coaching minor. I am extremely involved on my college campus, including Alpha Gamma Delta-Theta Iota Chapter, Rho Lambda-Gamma Lambda Chapter, Order of Omega-Gamma Beta Chapter, National Honor Society of Leadership & Success, News Channel 12 Student News, & Extra Point Student Sports News.

I am beyond grateful for the plethora of opportunities I have had while in college. Likewise, I have been granted several leadership positions. I have used my platform in order to promote Friends of Jaclyn.

This past fall, I was granted the opportunity to share a portion of the Friends of Jaclyn story right here in my home & college town. Harlie Bryant was adopted by Western Kentucky University’s Volleyball team after being diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytoma, a rare type of brain cancer. She has been with the team for over 12 years–one of the longest adoption programs in FOJ history. Her parents, Lisa & Jamie Bryant, & Harlie were welcomed with open arms by Head Coach Travis Hudson. I had the honor to interview Lisa & Jamie, Harlie, & Travis. Additionally, I interviewed Denis Murphy & Jaclyn Murphy, Denis’ daughter & inspiration behind the organization.

With this content, I was able to piece together a news package that was broadcasted during Extra Point’s Homecoming Special. Friends of Jaclyn & their mission had now reached thousands. This was one of the proudest moments of my life.

I am thankful for the amount of praise & support I received from Denis & Jaclyn Murphy, the Bryant Family, WKU Volleyball Team, my broadcasting friends, sorority sisters, & family members. However, none of this would be possible without my mother.

In order to share my story with Friends of Jaclyn, I had to share my mother’s. My mother is my biggest blessing, my confidant, & my best friend. I am beyond grateful for her guidance, her love, & most importantly: her selfless generosity to give back to others”.

They say children learn what they live. Lydia’s story is the epitome of those words. She has embraced the mission of FOJ, improving the quality of life for children battling pediatric brain tumors and childhood cancer. Through her dedication, Lydia not only found purpose but also became a beacon of hope for many families facing unimaginable challenges. Her commitment to service not only reflects her upbringing but also underscores her unwavering compassion and empathy towards those in need. Lydia’s journey with FOJ stands as a testament to the transformative power of selflessness and community service and support in the face of adversity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »