COLCHESTER, Vt. - The newest member of the Saint Michael's College field hockey program stands 5-foot-6 and won't be relied upon to score goals or play defense this fall, but 13-year-old Maureen Eddy from South Burlington looks to inspire her new team while playing an important role beginning with the 2012 season. Maureen has joined the program thanks to its work with Team IMPACT, a non‐profit organization serving children who are facing life‐threatening diseases.
Maureen, whose favorite color is the familiar Saint Michael's purple, will officially be recognized on Saturday at a 9 a.m. jersey presentation ceremony in the Tarrant Recreation Center Hall of Fame Room before the Purple Knights take on Southern Connecticut State University on Duffy Field at 11 a.m.
"We could not be more excited for Maureen to join us," said sophomore goalkeeper Jackie Chisholm (New Braintree, Mass./Quabbin Regional), who is a member of the committee connecting the Purple Knights with Team IMPACT. "Team IMPACT does amazing work, and we are so fortunate to have this opportunity. Not only will Maureen be able to learn and grow with us, with all of our support and love, but I am positive we will learn even more from her. She is so sweet, and we are just excited to finally make her a real member of our family."
Both Maureen and her younger sister are afflicted with cystic fibrosis, a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, and 70,000 worldwide. The disease causes the body to produce unusually thick mucus that can lead to life-threatening lung infections, and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
"I believe that Maureen is going to be a huge asset to our team," said junior Caroline Casper (Norfolk, Mass./Thayer Academy), who is also a member of the committee. "I know that my teammates and I will build a relationship with her that will share countless memories. With Team IMPACT, they want us to provide a support system for her to be able to look up to us, and use us as more than just role models but best friends to help her see past her disease. However, I truly believe that Maureen in return is going to open our eyes to a real challenge in life, and will become so special to all of us like we hope to become to her."
Maureen and her family first met some of the Purple Knights in the spring before being introduced to the entire squad last Friday at a post-practice pizza party. In her capacity as a member of the program, Maureen is invited to attend practices, games and additional team functions, with plans to continue doing so in years to come. On Sunday, Sept. 16, the Purple Knights will join Maureen and her family for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's annual Great Strides walk in Burlington's Oakledge Park. Team Eddy has raised more than $100,000 for cystic fibrosis research in the last decade.
Team IMPACT is a New England-based non‐profit organization serving children who are facing life‐threatening diseases by creating unparalleled team-based support systems. Core to its model is leveraging the power of teamwork by matching up these courageous kids with college athletic teams. In working with Team IMPACT, Saint Michael's joins Northeast-10 Conference counterparts such at Bentley University and Stonehill College, and fellow Vermont schools like Middlebury College and the University of Vermont.
Maureen's daily regiment includes vest physical therapy, more than two dozen pills, ingesting enzymes every time she eats because her body can't break down food on its own, and sinus flushes to make sure there isn't any mucus build-up. Thanks to advances in research and medical treatments, life expectancy for those with cystic fibrosis has increased significantly over the years.
For more information about Team IMPACT, visit here.