Teams work with Team IMPACT to host children with life threatening illnesses
By Lacey Nemergut
Bentley University has notably been an established presence on the athletic field for division 3 sports and division 1 hockey but what some might not see is the remarkable community commitment they display. Recently, Bentley teams have joined forces with Team IMPACT to change the lives of a few remarkable children. Team IMPACT is a non-profit that matches kids with life threatening illness to college sports teams.
This season, Will, an 8 year old boy with mitochondrial and primary immunodeficiency diseases, brought his high level of spirit and energy to the football team. “We’re integrating Will into our football family, so this has a deeper impact that other volunteer efforts,” said starting quarterback Danny Guadagnoli. “Because of Will, I feel genuine gratitude for things I used to take for granted, like going to college and playing sports. Will has made me realize that everyone should love life and live every moment happily.”
Will’s sister Sasha, who also suffers from similar ailments, brought a high level of enthusiasm to the Bentley field hockey team.
“I hope our players come to understand what an impact they can have on a young person’s life,” said Jessica Spencer, head Field Hockey coach. “By sacrificing their free time and thinking about different ways to brighten Sasha’s day it makes you think about life differently.”
Sasha attends all the team’s home games on good days. A few players have met her at the movies and gone to her house to celebrate her birthday.
In addition to their commitment to Sasha, the team has raised $2,400 for the Immune Deficiency Foundation this fall.
“Everyone who attends Bentley University is very fortunate to get an education here and it can be easy to forget that,” said Spencer. “I am not sure I appreciated it enough when I was a student here. When you meet Sasha and experience her energy and amazing attitude – despite what she needs to endure on a daily basis to stay healthy – it really puts everything in perspective. It’s a very important life lesson she is teaching us every day.”
A young boy named Mike from the program teamed up with the Bentley hockey team. The team enjoyed skating with mike and visiting him at home for some quality video game time. In their few moments off the ice and out the classroom, the team was able to visit him in the hospital and attend various fundraiser events for his cause.
“Our team gained many valuable life lessons from Mike Eden and his family. It was an experience that one cannot put into words,” said head hockey coach Ryan Soderquist.
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