NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack Athletics Department has teamed with Team IMPACT for 2012-13 and will have all intercollegiate programs participate in the partnership.
“Having 100% participation in our athletic department is a credit to our student-athletes, our coaches and to the Student-Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC),” said Director of Athletics Glenn Hofmann. “The Team IMPACT program can have an enormous impact on the child but also on our student-athletes. We have seen first-hand the impact our hockey team in particular has by being a part of this program, and I look forward to seeing additional relationships and bonds formed among all of our teams as a result of this initiative next year.”
Throughout the Northeast, Team IMPACT enhances the lives of children facing life-threatening diseases by matching them with college athletic teams.
“Partnering with Merrimack College provides a major boost to our efforts to serve courageous kids battling life-threatening illnesses,” said Maura Mahoney, Director of Outreach & Communications with Team IMPACT. “Merrimack College Athletics is a great example of an athletic community that understands the Team IMPACT concept. The camaraderie, support, and happiness that the teams have brought to these children and their families is something we are proud of. We look forward to having more teams at Merrimack involved with our program knowing that each relationship will profoundly improve the quality of life of these courageous kids.”
Last year, the hockey and men’s basketball programs both participated at Merrimack, while softball and baseball have both been matches with a child for next year.
“Having the support of the entire athletic department speaks to the commitment to community service across the department,” said Katie Ganser (Needham, MA), the President of SAAC and a senior on the women’s basketball team. “It speaks of Merrimack’s dedication to use our athletic and academic talents to help others, and often receiving more in return than we can offer.”
While the program is designed to provide a vibrant, care-free and exciting outlet and diversion from difficult treatments and medical realities, the program has proved to help the participating teams both on and off the playing field.
“I’m thrilled to hear that the entire athletic department is committed to such a great cause,” said Jordan Heywood (Regina, SK), a junior captain on the hockey team, who worked with Team IMPACT and 11-year-old Tim Burke this year. “The positive effects I’ve witnessed are undeniable. It is invaluable to the kids and for the student-athletes. It gives us perspective on how blessed we are and how much of an impact we can have on those around us.”
Last year, the men’s basketball team adopted 10-year-old Nick Napolitano, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood which requires treatment consisting of both chemotherapy and radiation.
“My guys just fell in love with him,” said head men’s basketball coach Bert Hammel. “He’s brought a lot of life to the team. “I’ve told the guys that this is what’s it’s all about.”