Niagara Women’s Lacrosse Drafts Inspirational Teammate Through Team IMPACT
11-year-old Caralyn to bring a new perspective to the Purple Eagles team
QUINCY, Mass. (December 7, 2015) – The Niagara University women’s lacrosse team welcomed their newest and youngest teammate, 11-year-old Caralyn, on Friday, December 4, through Team IMPACT. The Draft Day took place on the Niagara campus and Caralyn was joined by her family, her new teammates and coaches, as well as members from the Niagara campus community.
It was a very special day for Caralyn and her family. To begin the ceremony, Niagara Director of Athletics, Simon Gray, began with a few special words.
"Caralyn, your bravery, courage and belief makes you a role model for all our student athletes, not just our lacrosse team,” said Gray.
“As the athletic director, I am very proud of our lacrosse program, the student athletes that are here tonight and our coaching staff, who have taken incredible initiative to make this a wonderful paring. It is such a superb thing to be able to bring someone into our athletic program, who is very important, and it makes us better.”
Niagara University president, Father James J. Maher, joined Caralyn and her family at the head table and shared a story about meeting Pope John Paul II and words he spoke to soccer student-athletes in attendance that rang true in this moment.
“He said in Italian [to the players], ‘You in life must have great coraggio' – you must have great courage - and Caralyn, you have great courage,” said Maher. “You have given us a great gift tonight and what we want to say to you, to your mom, dad and family, is you are always a part of Niagara University and that is what we celebrate tonight, so we welcome you as a part of our family.”
Then in front of her new teammates with a big smile on her face, she signed her National Letter of Intent at the draft day press conference and was introduced as the newest Purple Eagle and presented with her team jersey, adorning the No. 24.
At the age of seven, Caralyn was diagnosed with brain tumors. She has just endured a long two and a half year process of chemotherapy and has just recently had her chemo port removed. Throughout her treatments Caralyn has a smile on her face and continues to show determination through these challenges and is certainly an inspiration to many.
"In her short time with us this fall, Caralyn has made an immediate impact on our team," head coach Wendy Stone said. "She is a great addition to our team and we know that she will be a great teammate. We will be a better program because of her involvement."
The newest Purple Eagle is sure to fit right in with her teammates and NU as her favorite color is purple! She loves to listen to country and Christian music and doing arts and crafts.
Most importantly, Caralyn is excited to officially join the team. With all she battles through, she truly embodies what it means to be a fighter and is sure to be an inspiration to her teammates and coaches.
- Be The IMPACT -
ABOUT TEAM IMPACT:
Team IMPACT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team. Team IMPACT children are drafted on to college athletic teams, local to where they live and, in effect, become official members of the team from Draft Day through to Graduation. At Team IMPACT, they envision a future where the lives of children facing the hardships associated with adverse issues and events will have access to collegiate team-based support in order to significantly enhance their quality of life in a number of ways, including; socially, psychologically, physically and academically. Team IMPACT also strives to provide collegiate teams with increased levels of awareness, sympathy and support for the medical and disease communities. Established in 2011, Team IMPACT has already matched over 800 children with collegiate teams, at over 300 institutions in 43 states, improving the quality of life of hundreds of courageous children and touching the lives of over 21,000 student athletes. For more information, please visit: www.goteamimpact.org.
* Photo is courtesy of Niagara Athletic Communications