Kean Athletics raise money for toddler

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By : Brittany Pavlichko | Published Feb 8, 2017

When Leslie LaFronz, field hockey head coach overheard Margie Acker, head softball coach at Kean University tell her about her brother’s son who has a brain tumor, LaFronz took it upon herself to join together with the Kean athletics to raise money.

“Do not take anything for granted, enjoy every moment you have and tell the people that are important to you how much you love and appreciate them.” said Margie Acker, softball coach at Kean University.

Coach Acker’s 21-month-old nephew, Raylan Joseph Acker has been diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) last June. As this difficult to treat brain tumor progresses, it interferes with all bodily functions, depriving a child of their abilities to walk, communicate and even to eat and drink. Because of where the tumor is located detected from an MRI after he fell and his head, normal chemotherapy is not an option and the medium survival time is anywhere from nine months to a year.

With the driving force of coach LaFronz; as well as every coach and student athlete, the Cougars are hosting a “Rally for Raylan” fundraiser in support of Raylan and his family. Coach LaFronz is encouraging everyone to participate and is asking to donate $2 in exchange for a wristband.

“Everyone who I told the situation to has donated without even buying a bracelet because they want to see this kid overcome the illness and hopefully find a cure.” said Teresa Carr, senior captain of the field hockey team at Kean.

The wristbands feature the message “Rally for Raylan” and are light blue and lime colored. LaFronz chose the colors due to the symbolic nature of Raylan. Wristbands are being sold by any one of the coaches or student athletes. LaFronz also is selling wristbands in her office in Harwood Arena, room 226 and suggests emailing her at if interested.

Some of the funds will go to Raylan and his family to help with the expenses during Raylan’s treatments and to provide them with the opportunities to create memories as a family. But, the majority of the funds will go to finding a clinical trial that will provide Raylan the opportunity to beat DIPG which will cost the family anywhere from $60,000-$70,000 for the first month which is not covered by insurance.

“It is imperative that we, the Kean community, come together and support each other,” said LaFronz “The sale of the bracelets are just a small way of saying that we care and we are here to support Raylan and his family.”

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