It didn’t matter if you hailed from MacArthur or North Shore. If you were on the North Shore lacrosse field Saturday, you were a member of the same team.
A sea of light blue “Team Conklin” shirts filled the bleachers in North Shore’s first cystic fibrosis fundraiser in honor of teammates Maddy and Frankie Conklin, who were diagnosed in 2008.
The host North Shore girls team bested MacArthur, 17-9, and both sisters were contributors. Maddy, a starting midfielder, scored a goal in the final minutes. Frankie, a reserve defender, played strong defense in the opening half.
But their individual successes were secondary to the goal of making a difference in the lives of those suffering from the disorder that can affect the lungs and digestive system, Frankie said.
“I think it was really important that we had the biggest student and fan section that we’ve had at one of our games,” the junior said. “It’s really exciting that they came out not only to support Team Conklin, but also the Make-A-Wish foundation.”
Both teams sported Team Conklin shirts in pregame warmups contributed by the MacArthur team, North Shore coach Meg McCormack said. A donation of over $1,200 was made to Make-A-Wish from raffles and shirt sales.
Maddy, who works with Make-A-Wish as part of North Shore’s senior internship program, had her dreams made true by the organization when they sent her and her family to Hawaii in 2010.
And because treatment for both sisters can at times be rigorous, Make-A-Wish dressed the Conklin basement like an African safari so they could have a tranquil place for their routines.
Treatments range from inhaled antibiotics to other medications, and the process can take up to 30 minutes each morning and night.
“Make-A-Wish is an awesome organization, so we’re happy to help them out and help out children with various illnesses,” said their mother, Holly Conklin.
Since Make-A-Wish sent her to Hawaii, all Maddy has wanted to do is give back and set an example for others.
“When we were first diagnosed, it was kind of scary,” she said. “I think it just pushed me to work harder. And seeing how much success I’ve had in sports and academics, I just want to be an example for kids with CF or other life-threatening illnesses.”
Both accomplished athletes, Maddy will attend Cornell and Frankie has plans to attend Richmond to play field hockey.
“It’s the first day we’ve done something like this,” McCormack said. “I just wanted to do something special for them before Maddy graduates. They’ve been so committed to the lacrosse and field hockey programs. They’re all-around student athletes here.”
And in a game that North Shore won convincingly, both Maddy and Frankie found reason to keep playing tough.
“We played for the cause,” Maddy said. “We wanted to go out there and win. Seeing the community here really pushed us as a team to work together.”