Since its inception in May of 2011, Team IMPACT has matched over 1,300 children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses with collegiate athletic teams at 450 schools in 47 states. These children are drafted onto local teams and are given the social and psychological boost they need to get through their treatments and beyond, while giving the student-athletes perspective and teaching them lessons in courage and grit that cannot be taught in the classroom or on the field.
On March 28, 2014 my son Sully, who was only 4 at the time, was diagnosed with Stage IV High Risk Neuroblastoma. Over the past four years he has endured more things most people could imagine. Chemo, multiple surgeries, three different types of radiation treatments, antibody therapy, a stem cell transplant, immunotherapy, and more chemo. Through it all, he has kept an amazing, positive attitude, smiling through some of the toughest times.
One of the reasons he is able to keep smiling is because he has a tremendous amount of support. After Sully was diagnosed a friend told me about Team Impact. Sully was matched with the Navy Sprint Football Team at the United States Naval Academy in our hometown of Annapolis, MD. This amazing team welcomed Sully and his brothers, Jack and Mac, onto their team and have provided my boys with a life changing experience. Sully truly loves his team. He loves going to practice and games with them and loves when they come to his sports games. They have provided a consistent source of joy in his life and, when times are tough, remind him of how much he is loved.
This year I am running with an angel on my shoulder. My little buddy Mason Mazzuca. Mason lost his life to leukemia in March of this year. He was 6 years old. A few months before he passed away he was drafted through Team IMPACT by the University of Maryland Baseball Team. The next time I went to visit him his hospital room was decked out in UMD gear, all gifted by the team. The look on his face when I asked him about his signing day is one of my favorite memories. There was such a light in his eyes when he told me "I got to go on the field!"
On October 7, 2018, the GoTeam will make the journey through Chicago to raise funds to expand the efforts to match more children with collegiate teams across the country. Please consider a donation so that more children like Sully and Mason can receive this life changing experience.