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March 08, 2011

Mahopac's Jacqueline Stack's wish comes true



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Photo Courtesy of Christine Stack.

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Photo Courtesy of Christine Stack.

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Photo Courtesy of Christine Stack.

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Jacqueline Stack with world-famous soccer player Mia Hamm. Photo Courtesy of Christine Stack.

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Photo Courtesy of Christine Stack.
When Jacqueline Stack turned 10 years old, she blew out her birthday candles and wished to meet Mia Hamm, world-famous soccer player, and Jacqueline's hero. Little did she know that just a few months later, that dream would come true.

Once Jacqueline's friend, Danny Caulfield, heard about her wish, he immediately had the idea to speak to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a national organization that provides children with life-threatening medical conditions with the opportunity to live out a dream. Jacqueline was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease in which mucus lines the lungs and digestive tract, causing infections.

Her condition hasn't stopped her from moving through life at full speed, though, and she loves playing soccer. The game is especially good for her because the vigorous running helps break up the mucus. When the Make-a-Wish Foundation heard about this, they knew that the Mia Hamm Soccer Camp would be the perfect way to grant Jacqueline's wish.

Knowing the camp was open to the public, Jacqueline wanted to share the experience with as many of her friends as possible. She recruited her two 13-year-old sisters Gabrielle and Julia, along with 22 players from their travel soccer team, and the group headed up to Binghamton for the camp on Jan. 29. Clad in Mia Hamm jerseys from Rich's Stiches, the Mahopac girls stood out among the crowd as they practiced and took hints from Hamm.

No one stood out more than Jacqueline, though. Caroline McDonough and Carol Girven convinced the owners of the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex to put together a game between college players and Mia Hamm, the dome staff and Jacqueline. Gabrielle and Julia started the whole crowd chanting Jacqueline's name, and Jacqueline went to make a goal against a college goalie.

The crowd was astounded by how powerful her shot was, but the goalie intercepted it, bouncing it back to her. Undeterred, Jacqueline's gym teacher, Mimi Murphy, watched the whole thing, and wrote Jacqueline a letter describing the moment.

"I looked up to watch Mia scream 'No!' and fall to her knees with her fists clenched, as the game buzzer rang! I am sure that you wish that the goal would have gone in, but to me, it didn't matter," wrote Murphy. "Ten year old, you made that college goalie nervous. You made her save a ball, not once, but twice, and nearly scored on that advanced athlete that had at least 10 years as well as 80 pounds on you. And you brought a soccer superstar…. THE soccer superstar… to her knees."

It is a moment that Jacqueline and all the other girls will remember forever. The entire weekend – filled with friends, learning and soccer – was an experience they will never forget. As Jacqueline's mother, Christine Stack, says, "I believe all the little ladies were star struck by Mia Hamm, had a great time playing soccer with their friends and fell in love with the game of soccer all over again."

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You can help Jacqueline

To support Jacqueline's fight against cystic fibrosis, join the 10th annual Freezin' For A Reason on March 19, at Mahopac Golf Club. For more information, visit freezinforcysticfibrosis.com or call 845-222-6233.

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