PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Brown University men's hockey team officially welcomed Harry Borodemos, an 8-year-old from Fall River, Mass., to its roster on Monday though a special Team IMPACT "Draft Day" held at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
Harry, who was diagnosed with Juvenile Myositis, signed his National Letter of Intent during the "Draft Day" ceremony in the Joukowsky Room at Brown's Pizzitola Center, surrounded by a group of family, friends, media and new teammates. Harry was presented with an authentic team jersey from head coach Brendan Whittet, who welcomed his new recruit before making the signing official.
"It was an opportunity for us to be involved in a very good organization in Team IMPACT," said Whittet. "It's great for our guys and great for them to give back. I tell our team that being part of our program is more about just them, it's also about giving back and understanding that it's a big world out there, so we gain as much from this as Harry will from being part of our team."
A second-grade student, Harry is dealing with Juvenile Myositis, a rare and life-threatening autoimmune disease, one of a group of diseases that affects two to four children in a million in which the body's immune system attacks its own cells and tissues. As a new team member, Harry will become an official member of the roster and will receive his own locker and gear, and attend practices, games and events.
"We are all very privileged to be able to play hockey at such a great institution, but really this is about Harry, "said senior Connor Maher, who spearheaded the program's connection with Team IMPACT. "Harry is one of the toughest kids I've ever met and he inspires us everyday. We're excited to have him on our team and we just love hanging out with him."
This is the ninth Team IMPACT match –and the third with ice hockey – at Brown University. Through the Team IMPACT two-year program, the child joins as an official member of the team and the student-athletes join the child's support team, forming life long bonds and life changing outcomes. Throughout the journey – from Draft Day to Graduation – the child gains strength, confidence, camaraderie and support, while student-athletes experience lessons in courage, resiliency and life perspective they can't learn in a classroom.
Team IMPACT, headquartered in the Boston area with regional offices in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco, has a list of more than 1,000 college teams waiting to be matched with children ages 5-to-16 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening, chronic or serious illness and could benefit from becoming a member of a collegiate men's or women's sports team. Please visit goteamimpact.org for more information.