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January 28, 2013

Ivy League Teams Get on Board with Team IMPACT

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Teams at Dartmouth, Harvard and Brown are some of the latest to join the Team IMPACT program in hopes of making a difference in a child's life.

Throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, Team IMPACT enhances the lives of children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by matching them with college athletic teams.Click here to learn more about Team IMPACT.

Check out what Ivy League teams are doing with Team IMPACT:

Team IMPACT's Sophie Inpires Harvard Women's Swimming & Diving
Video Highlights

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Harvard women's swimming and diving team welcomed its newest member to the program today as part of the Team IMPACT program. Sophie, a four-year old from Concord, Mass., met the squad at Blodgett Pool.

Sophie, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in April 2010, will be a part of the Crimson for the remainder of the season. ALL is the most common form of leukemia in children and typically requires two-plus years of chemotherapy, steroids and oral medications. Sophie will continue her journey with the help of her new teammates throughout the year. 

"It was a pleasure to meet Sophie this afternoon," said Stephanie Morawski, The Costin Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Swimming & Diving. "We certainly look forward to having her as part of our team this season, but, more importantly, we are also excited to learn from Sophie. She has tremendous inner strength and an amazing and beautiful spirit."

Harvard Women's Water Polo Holds Draft Day, Welcomes Team IMPACT Member

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Harvard women's water polo team welcomed its newest team member when five-year-old Bella Padilla was added to the roster as part of the Team IMPACT Draft Day.

"I'm very excited for our team to be partnering up with Team IMPACT, and our newest member of our team, Bella," Harvard women's water polo head coach Ted Minnis said. "It's great to have her come and be a part of our team.  The girls have really enjoyed meeting her and having her on the pool deck with her family. We're excited for her to learn more about our sport and us to learn more about Bella."

As part of her draft dray experience, Bella met her new teammates, received her official team uniform and t-shirt and an autographed pink water polo ball before taking part in her first practice with her new teammates.

During the season, Bella will be able to attend practice and join the team on the bench during games. She also has her own decorated locker in the team locker room where she can get ready before practices and home games.

Team IMPACT is a non-profit organization chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses through the creation of unparalleled team based support systems. Core to the model is harnessing the power of teamwork by matching these courageous kids with college athletic teams. After Bella's application to the program, she was paired with the Harvard women's water polo team, and she will be an official member of the squad throughout the duration of her treatment and beyond.

The Crimson opens its season Feb. 2 with a tripleheader at Blodgett Pool in the Harvard Home Kick Off. Saturday is one of two home dates on the Crimson's schedule this season with the other coming against Brown April 3. 

Brown Women's Ice Hockey Raises Over $6,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in "Score for Survivors"

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- On Monday, January 21 the Brown women's ice hockey team hosted a Score for Survivors fundraiser at Meehan Auditorium. The players and coaches raised over $6,000 dollars that will be donated to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of Angelica Negron, the team's newest member by way of Team IMPACT.

"Overall, having Angelica around has been a really fun experience for the whole team," said senior goaltender Katie Jamieson, who spearheaded the organization of the event. "We've really enjoyed getting to know her and welcoming her to our hockey family! She had her "draft day" at the start of November during a game against Dartmouth, and it was really exciting to have her stand on the blue line with the team and finally receive her own personal jersey!"

Angelica and the Bears were connected by Team IMPACT, an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illness by partnering them with a local college athletic team. A 10-year old from Greenville, Rhode Island, Angelica was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in May of 2006. She finished her course of treatment in September of 2008, but still goes for check-ups every three months.

"I honestly think Angelica is the most mature 10-year old we've ever met," said Jamieson. "It is evident that she has been through a lot, but it seems like she has no fears. On the ice she is always hitting people, so you can also tell that she is extremely competitive! I remember the first time I met her, she asked me who got the most penalties on the team. I told her Lauren Vella. Ever since then, Vella has been her favorite player."

In an attempt to honor Angelica and support a cause that has become close to their hearts, Jamieson and her teammates searched for a way to make a difference. On Monday, each of the players and coaches had the chance to shoot 10 pucks on goal from center ice, with donations contingent upon the amount of goals scored by the team or by individual player. Overall, the squad tallied 240 goals, with Lauren Zary, Emma Pearson, Sarah Robson, Brittany Moorehead and head coach Amy Bourbeau shooting 10 for 10.

"Angelica is a gift to our team as much as we are a gift to her family," said Coach Bourbeau. "She is the motivation behind our fundraiser for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  We want to help those in need, and we also hope to show Angelica how much we care. As a program, we believe strongly in giving back and helping others.  That is something I want to instill in my players.  All of us are excited for this opportunity to raise money and give it to the local leukemia society in her honor." 

"Angelica inspires our team to battle with heart and to never forget to smile," said freshman Ali Rolandelli, who earned $100 dollars for each of the eight goals that she scored on Monday. "Having her on our team has been a blessing to all of us, and it is great to combine something that you love to do with such a worthy cause. It is only fitting that we use the game that has given us so much as a means of giving back to the community. This fundraiser hits home for Angelica's family, along with the many other families impacted by this disease. We have received such positive feedback from various alumni and members of the community, showing us how important this fundraiser is to many."

Ethan Will Always Remember His First Goal

Ethan from Berkley MA, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in January of 2011. As a result, Ethan has spent the last 11 months undergoing chemotherapy and steroid treatments at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that will hopefully make him cancer free. Like many cancer patients, Ethan has found that going through this type of treatment is not only demanding on his body, but also very isolating. Plucked from his normal routine of school and playing with friends, Ethan was thrown into a scary whirlwind of IV's, tests, and hospital visits. It is during these tough times where people learn to lean on something or someone to help get them through. For Ethan, this has been the 34 members of the Brown Bears hockey team.

Growing up, many kids have a hero they idolize. In some cases it may be a famous musician or an award winning actor. To others, it may be a professional athlete or even a brilliant scientist. Regardless of who it may be, a child's idol can have an incredible impact on their life. They can help shape a child's hopes and dreams, and even direct them down a path in which they strive to be just like their childhood hero. To 7 year old Ethan, no one is held on a higher pedestal than Brown men's ice hockey team.

Throughout this experience, the team has made it clear to Ethan that he is not alone in his fight against leukemia. The team has been supporting Ethan through his treatment and they have become brothers, teammates, and idols to young Ethan.

Ethan, who found out about the organization from another Team IMPACT family, was drafted on to the Brown hockey team on October 5, 2011 and became the youngest Brown Bear to join the squad. As an official teammate, Ethan was outfitted with a team jersey and has become a constant presence at practices, in the locker room before games, and even laced up his skates for the first time and was taught how to skate by his 34 teammates.

Ethan spent time with his team on the ice learning to skate, shoot, and score all in one practice. The determination Ethan showed on the ice was emblematic of the courage he shows in his on-going fight with leukemia. Ethan's mom Debbie said of Ethan's time with the team,"Every time we go to the rink we feel like we are a big part of the team. Ethan's been learning about the sport, about teamwork, and learning how to skate. Every single moment around the team has been a special moment for Ethan and our entire family."

Since Draft Day, the team has started the hockey season and Ethan and his family have continued to build their relationship with the team both on and off the ice. Any day when Ethan is overwhelmed by his treatment, the team, and in particular assistant captain Bobby Farnham, has been there to console him. When Ethan just wants someone to talk to, Bobby will sit on the phone for as long as Ethan wants, talking about the life and times of a 7 year old fighting a life-threatening disease. When Ethan begged his Dad to build an ice rink in their back yard, Bobby was the first person to strap on a tool belt and head out to Berkley, MA to build the backyard rink.

When a child is diagnosed, every member of the family, including the siblings, has their own set of challenges to contend with. Not only has the Brown hockey team embraced Ethan, but consistent with the training Team IMPACT provides for the players, they have embraced the entire family. In the words of Ethan's Dad, "Not a day goes by when he doesn't ask for Bobby and the guys on the team. This has been incredible not only for him but our entire family. It is the best therapy imaginable." Consistent with an Ivy League effort, not only has the Brown hockey program embraced Ethan's entire family, but through this connection, Ethan's sister Madeline was recently adopted by the Brown women's gymnastics team. Both children are now going to be Brown Bears for life.

At each home game, Ethan greets the team with a fist bump and wishes them good luck right before they hit the ice. As Ethan's father noted, "Not many kids can say they have 34 big brothers; every single one of them has made an impact on him."

Team IMPACT's Caleb Nelson Joins Dartmouth Hockey Team For Stretch Run

HANOVER, N.H. -- Dartmouth men's hockey head coach Bob Gaudet announced the addition of 10-year old Caleb Nelson as the newest member of the 2012-13 Big Green.

A native of Rygate, Vt., Nelson made the trip to Thompson Arena on Monday to meet with his new teammates and coaches. Once in Hanover, Nelson was given his own locker and assigned his jersey number for his stint with the Green and White.

Meeting with equipment manager Brian Corcoran during the visit, Nelson chose No. 34, a number only he will wear while a member of the team.

Joining Caleb in his trip to his new home arena was his mother Heather, as well as sisters Devyn (12) and Kacie (6).

A formal welcome from team captain Mike Keenan as well as a tour of his new home rink from Gaudet marked Caleb's first official duties as a member of the Dartmouth men's hockey team.

After the introduction in the locker room, the Big Green and its newest member made their way to Smoyer Lounge for a team meal of pizza.

"I could not be more pleased to add a young man of such high character to this program," Gaudet said of his latest roster move. "When presented with the opportunity to add a person like Caleb to our roster, mid-season or not, we had to jump at the chance to do so.

"I am really excited that Caleb accepted our offer to join the Dartmouth men's hockey family for not only this year, but also for years to come."

Maturity and selflessness are two of Caleb's most valued traits that Gaudet hopes will carry over to his role with the Big Green.

Founder of 'Caleb Dreams of Ice Cream', Nelson created a program in cooperation with the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (CHaD) that allows for young patients the choice of 26 flavors from his favorite local ice cream parlor. He claims the program was created as a means to give hospitalized kids something positive to look forward to while receiving treatment.

Both a basketball player and drummer, Nelson's vast skill-set will be a welcome addition to this year's team as they head for the stretch run and postseason play.

Nelson's first scheduled appearance with the Big Green is set for Saturday night when his team plays host to Clarkson at 7 p.m.