If you would like to donate money to this cause, you can make checks out to The Thundering Herd and mail them to: The Thundering Herd, 14190 Montclair Court, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739. Or you can use our PayPal address, and email the money to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Herd will also be buying our annual “Thank You” bouquet for the USC Football Offices for another great year. The cards enclosed to both Angelica Logan and the USC Football offices will simply list the sender as “The Herd” and will not list individual names.
Thank you for your donations. Remember no more than $10.
Below is the story from The Santa Clarita Valley Signal.
Museum Trip Makes a Big Detour at USC
By Jesse Muñoz Signal Staff Writer
Thursday February 22, 2007
When 7-year-old Jacob DeLong left his Canyon Country home for a January trip to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, he was excited to say the least. But after a slight detour to the University of Southern California bookstore, Jacob would soon be hailing the day as the "best in his life." Diagnosed with leukemia in June, the last six months have been filled with chemotherapy sessions and a series of hospital visits for Jacob, including one prolonged stay in November while he suffered severe liver toxicity - the result of his chemotherapy treatment. "That liver toxicity almost ended his life, it was really bad," said Jacob's mother, Lisa DeLong. "But he's a pretty tough little dude, so he got better."
After pulling through, Jacob returned home from the hospital, and after a few weeks of recuperation was ready to start being a 7-year-old again. "I thought it would be fun to go on a field trip," his mother said. "He likes museums and he's interested in bugs and space and those kinds of things, so I thought we'd go over to the science museum in (Los Angeles)." Accompanied by family friend Mona Hoffman, the group set out on the relatively short trip from Canyon Country for a fun-filled day at the museum. And then the detour occurred. As a side effect of his treatment Jacob became nauseous and vomited inside the car - dirtying his clothes in the process. Not wanting to alter the day's plans and take away Jacob's chance to experience the museum, the group soon found themselves trying to locate a clothing store in Koreatown. After that attempt proved unsuccessful DeLong decided to stop by the USC campus - which is adjacent to the science center - to buy Jacob a change of clothes. Locating a parking spot by the nearest crosswalk, the pair quickly stripped Jacob of his soiled clothes, wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in a stroller before asking a passing student how to get to the bookstore. "Make a left at Tommy Trojan," replied the student. The group eventually made it to the bookstore, purchased Jacob a replacement outfit - sweat pants and T-shirt in USC red and gold - and went into the bathroom to make the change. "He was just so excited," said DeLong about how her son reacted to being on the USC campus. "We bought this outfit and he was like 'this is the best day of my life.' Here he is stark naked, just thrown up, wrapped in a blanket, in a stroller and it's the best day of his life, but kids are like that."
By his own proclamation, Jacob would have been content with the new USC gear and the originally planned trip to the science museum. But within minutes he would find himself in territory that most Trojan fans only dream about. While changing in the bathroom, Lisa and Jacob bumped into bookstore employee Angelica Logan and casually explained the situation - that Jacob was suffering from leukemia and had become ill during the car ride. Instructing Jacob to stay put for a minute, Logan left, only to return with an autographed USC football that she presented to Jacob. "She handed it to him, and he just grinned from ear to ear," DeLong said. Seeing the reaction to the football, Logan then asked Jacob if he would be interested in meeting some of the USC football players. "It was just surreal, because we're S.C. fans. My husband watches every single game," said DeLong about her husband, David DeLong, a track and cross country coach at Canyon High School. From there the group was taken to the campus sports facility, where they were introduced to assistant athletic director Jason C. Pappas who arranged for a number of players to stop by and visit with Jacob. And the gifts kept coming. In addition to the autographed football - with more than 20 signatures from USC players including Rey Maualuga, Emmanual Moody, Chris McFoy, Kevin Ellison and Keith Rivers - Jacob was presented with a USC hat, another T-shirt, a stadium view poster from the Trojans' most recent Rose Bowl victory over Michigan, and numerous photos with players. "They were so friendly and warm. I think that was just remarkable," DeLong said. "Everyone treated us like we were celebrities. Like they had prompted them to be nice to us. But that was an impossibility, they were just genuinely vary warm and caring."
Again, Jacob probably would have been happy to take his newly acquired memorabilia and proceed to the museum, but his experience at USC wasn't quite over. Head football coach Pete Carroll was the next to make his way over, immediately embracing Jacob and inviting the group into his office for a more personal visit. Once inside the two spent their time together lounging on a couch, taking pictures and joking around. According to DeLong it was during this time that Jacob asked, 'where's that black thing that you always have on your face?'- referring to the black headset Carroll usually wears while roaming the sidelines. To which the coach replied, 'well I really don't wear it that often,' DeLong said. "He was a really sweet, nice man," said DeLong about Carroll. "I was really kind of taken back. He was warm, like we've know him our whole lives." Carroll also took the time to sign an autograph, inscribing an 8-by-10 photograph with the words, "Jacob, The Trojans need you! Fight On," and inviting Jacob and his family back to the first day of spring practice in March.
"It just meant the world to us. We had had a very tough November and December," DeLong said. "You have these huge highs and lows when you're so afraid and uncertain and life just feels bleak. And then all of a sudden you have a USC day." Because the experience cut into the amount of time spent at the museum, the DeLongs are planning a second trip to the science center to view the new Star Wars exhibit being housed there. "We can visit Pete Carroll again Mom," said Jacob upon mention of the trip. "But I'm not staying that long again. I missed everything at the science museum."