I learned about this non-profit organization at a women’s ice hockey game at a small mid- Western college this winter. There was an adorable, energetic red-haired four-year-old girl who sat right next to the players’ box during play. She would disappear into the locker room with them in between periods. She has her own locker and a team jersey. She attends every game and practice. At the practices she goes on the ice and skates with the team for a little bit. The entire team went to her birthday party. They deliver Christmas presents to her, take her sledding and watch her favorite movie with her over and over.
The adorable four year old has a life-threatening illness and her relationship with the college athletic team provides a much-needed distraction and source of support, friendship and love.
It works both ways. This child is an important honorary member of the team. The team members love her and the relationship brings empathy, compassion and gratitude to each team member.
How do teams and children get put together? There are medical ambassadors who are affiliated with pediatric medical facilities and medical charities, all of whom help identify appropriate children and athletic teams for the program. The matching process with the families is an extensive multi-step process.
This is a wonderful nonprofit. If you have a specific team or child in mind you’d like to bring to the attention of Team Impact there is a simple online form to fill out and you will be contacted within three days. And, of course, donations are much appreciated!