|The Men's Basketball Team Starts The "AJ5 Fund" for Teammate in Need|
AJ Buchanan is the Manhattanville College men's basketball team's sixth man. He joined the team in the spring of 2010. Though, in his third year with the team, he's never played in a game, yet the team still considers him its Most Valuable Contributor.
AJ Buchanan is just 14-years old. He was paired with the Valiants through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, which brings together children battling brain tumors and college athletic teams.
Though in remission for the past five years, AJ's tumor returned earlier this year. This past May, AJ's mother passed away leaving his 20-year old sister LaToya to raise AJ and his two siblings. The basketball team sold shirts this season to help raise money for AJ and his family.
Now, the Valiants have started the AJ5 Fund in hopes that they can expand their help for AJ beyond just Manhattanville Athletics. The idea was inspired by a donation from the Elms College men's basketball team.
"I found out about AJ through the Valiants website, as Pat Scanlon (Valiants head coach) is a friend and from time to time I check out how the Valiants are doing," said Elms head men's basketball coach Ed Silva. "When I read AJ's story and his involvement with the basketball team, I was deeply touched. I went to my captains and spoke with them about AJ and without hesitation they thought that giving our meal money was something they wanted to do."
The Blazers donated one night's meal money ($10 for each player) to AJ and his family.
Valiants head coach Pat Scanlon is still humbled by the generosity of the Elms basketball team.
"I think it's just a great example of what a team is capable of doing off the court," Scanlon said. "It's a powerful message they sent, not because of the amount of money, which is very generous, but more so because it's a group of strangers stepping up with action to support and encourage a young man and family who could use it."
While AJ hasn't been able to attend any games this season since he is under the care of doctors at The Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, Valiant team members have been frequent visitors at the hospital helping to keep the young AJ's spirits up.
"As a coach, this is one of the valuable examples that we use to teach life lessons," Silva said. "We are hoping Pat and his Valiant players get AJ back on the bench soon."
For more information on AJ's story read our earlier piece.