Dec. 13, 2012
A holiday story courtesy of Team IMPACT about the power of paying it forward | Team IMPACT
The very nature and essence of the Team IMPACT program lends itself particularly well to the concept of paying it forward. Most athletes in the program are moved as they learn about their youngest teammate's medical journey and the courage they've shown in facing such adversity at such a young age. Most athletes quickly realize exactly who's really doing whom a favor, and many are inspired enough to pay it forward, in a variety of ways, to the benefit of the medical and disease communities.
However, the story we'd like to share with you is rather unique as it's the story of how one especially noble seven-year-old Team IMPACT child was inspired to pay it forward in his own personal way.
In 2009, when Kevin Rich was just four years old, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He then spent the following three years, through a range of complications, undergoing a grueling treatment regiment consisting of countless rounds of chemotherapy and steroids.
In September 2012, through Team IMPACT, Kevin was given a big boost of morale as he was officially drafted onto the Providence College men's hockey team. At his Draft Day ceremony he met all of his new Friar teammates, received his team jersey, a bunch of signed team memorabilia, a hockey stick, and even his own locker in the team's locker room. From that day on, Kevin was and will continue to be a Providence College Friar.
Since joining the team, Kevin has become "one of the guys"- spending lots of time at practices, going trick-or-treating with teammates, and sitting with the injured players during games. Kevin has quickly become an integral part of this Friar fraternity and has developed a new found confidence and comfort as a result of this special treatment and status.
Recently, as Kevin continues to adjust to life back at school and the more typical routine of a healthy seven-year-old, his mother started to hear Kevin talk endlessly about a boy named Jordan. Jordan is a severely autistic second grader who periodically visits Kevin's classroom.
Then at one of Kevin's youth hockey practices, unbeknownst to his parents and coach, Kevin asked each of his fellow squirt teammates to sign a blank piece of paper with their name and jersey number. Essentially, Kevin created his own team memorabilia fashioned after what he received from his Friar friends at Providence.
The next week at school, when Jordan came into the classroom, Kevin presented the autographed paper to his new friend and explained that it was from his youth hockey team. The paper served as Jordan's Draft Day - a formal invitation to join Kevin's team and attend any practice or game he liked.
Kevin, a seven-year-old leukemia survivor, took it upon himself to share the magic of Team IMPACT with another little boy who could use a boost, and in turn, gave Jordan his very own team.