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A Triumph of Spirit: Rutgers Honors Young Essex County Hero at Wrestling Match


By: Richard L. Smith

In a heartwarming display of courage and resilience, the Rutgers wrestling team's recent bout against No. 7 Ohio State on February 4th at Jersey Mike’s Arena became more than just a competition.AdIt turned into a stage for celebrating the indomitable spirit of a young boy, Miles Jaffe from Verona, NJ, who was honored as the Shining Knight of The Game.

This touching moment was part of a commendable initiative by Rutgers Athletics and its Official Health Care provider, RWJBarnabas Health, aimed at uplifting patients facing significant health challenges.

For eight-year-old Miles, who was diagnosed with Lyme disease following uncharacteristic tiredness and lethargy, the honor marked a significant milestone in his journey towards recovery.

Miles’ health scare began in October 2023 when his concerned parents noticed his unusual fatigue and took him to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center.

RUTGERS There, doctors discovered not only Lyme disease but also a pseudotumor causing paralysis of the bilateral eye muscles, a complication that put pressure on his eyes and brain.

Under the care of Dr. Uzma Hasan, a Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist, and the dedicated team at RWJBarnabas Health, a tailored treatment plan was devised for Miles. Now, the third-grader from F.N. Brown Elementary School is on a promising path to recovery.

His renewed energy and anticipation to join little league baseball this spring are testaments to his resilience.

The day at Rutgers was a dream come true for Miles. He had the opportunity to meet the wrestling head coach, Scott Goodale, and explore the team’s practice gym at the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center.AdBut the pinnacle of his visit was standing on the mat before the opening match alongside his father, Benjamin, and the Rutgers Scarlet Knight Mascot, where the crowd celebrated his bravery and relentless spirit.

Miles, alongside future Shining Knight honorees, will be forever remembered with an enshrinement in a Rutgers Athletics facility, immortalizing their unique game-day experiences and battles off the mat.

This initiative not only highlights the strength of these young fighters but also showcases the compassionate community spirit embodied by Rutgers Athletics and RWJBarnabas Health.

As the Rutgers wrestling team faced off against a formidable opponent, the true victory of the day was the celebration of Miles Jaffe's courage, serving as an inspiration to us all to face our battles with the same unwavering spirit.