LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- An assistant softball coach has stepped up to the plate on behalf of a Larchmont teen stricken with a rare disease.
Scarsdale resident Jay S. Hausman has set up an online fundraising site to help defray medical expenses faced by the family of 13-year-old Jordan Pryor, who was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in July.
Jordan, who is in the eighth-grade, plays second base for the Empire State Huskies, a girls fast pitch softball organization based in Westchester. Her twin,Taylor, covers first base, and their dad, John, is the team’s coach.
Hausman, an attorney with a practice in Harrison, also has a daughter on the Huskies team.
The Pryors were on vacation when Jordan discovered a “knot” in her neck. They took her to urgent care and then to a pediatrician and specialist for tests when they were back home.
Pryor and Jordan were in Maryland with the team as it competed in the Nationals when he got the bad news.
“Actually, I got the call in the parking lot,” Pryor said. “It was tough; I had to keep it quiet for three days.”
He waited until they got home so that he and Jordan's mom, Michele, could talk to her together.
Hausman said he was badly shaken up when Pryor told him about Jordan’s illness.
“Obviously, this is a parent’s worst nightmare,” he wrote in his post on youcaring.com.
Admitting that he was “at a loss for words,” Hausman said he choked back his emotions for fear of “making it worse.”
“After all, I have been there to see this scrawny little kid with braces, turn into a beautiful young woman and have seen her seek out her father after victories to give him a hug or seek the grasp of his hand after a failure,” he wrote.
Soon after returning from the tournament, the Pryors found themselves making trips to Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.
Jordan has had several rounds of chemotherapy and is expected to undergo radiation next month.
But the young athlete is determined not to let her diagnosis or the treatments to get her down.
She was front and center for the first day of school this week and was at softball practice just two days after chemo, her dad said.
“It’s rough, but it’s worth it to keep going,” Jordan said.
According to the American Cancer Society, the exact cause of nasopharyngeal cancer is not known, but it has been linked with certain diets, genetic predispositions and infections, particularly the Epstein-Barr virus.
Whatever the origin, it is extremely rare in children.
While doctors have told her that she faces a battle, “the prognosis is good for a full recovery,” Hausman wrote on youcaring.com.
The site, which touts “compassionate caring,” has, as of Wednesday, raised $31,131, surpassing its goal of $25,000.
Pryor said that, while his family is not in dire straits financially, it is grateful for the assistance and the chance to “raise awareness for Jordan.”
He also views the campaign as a way to “give back to Sloan.”
“They are amazing, the things they do down there every day,” Pryor said, adding that he plans to give any unused donations to the hospital’s pediatric unit.