Norwich WLax Shares Opportunity with Local Child

NORTHFIELD, VT. A match made in heaven is what eight-year-old Amanda Ferris received when TEAM IMPACT introduced her to Norwich University women's lacrosse.

The chance for her to meet and play with the unbeaten Cadets' team came about from her family's Camp Sunshine connection Nancy Cincotta. She told Amanda's mom, Amy, about the non-profit organization as part of her daughter's fight against leukemia.

"Amanda was very excited, especially when she found out it was a lacrosse team (that she was going to be drafted by)," Amy Ferris said. "I think the biggest thing the team is giving her right now is the flexibility and confidence to practice skills and learn more about the game without social and/or physical restrictions and pressure. Lacrosse is, by far, her favorite sport."

NU coach Beth VanParys noted her team was equally as enthusiastic to be part of the opportunity. The Ferris family has been part of a couple of home games, some practices and other events with Norwich women's lacrosse.

"(Amanda) has so much energy and loves the game," she said. "The players have really taken to her and love having her around. I think it's just as much fun for us as it is for Amanda."

TEAM IMPACT is chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. Children are drafted onto local college athletic teams and become an official member of the team for the duration of their treatment and beyond while in the program.

"Even though we just started (with TEAM IMPACT), it has been an awesome experience," Amy Ferris said. "It's given Amanda an opportunity to participate in something, meet new people, and learn about a sport that she has particular interest in.

"Amanda developed a love for lacrosse last summer after participating in a local lacrosse camp sponsored by Randolph Union High School varsity boys' lacrosse coach and his wife (Brian and Kate Kennedy)," she added.

"She has worked with a physical therapist and nutritionist throughout her treatment and, even though she often napped prior to and after lacrosse practice each day of the two weeks, she was consistently dressed in her cleats, stick in hand (the camp gave each child equipment for the two weeks of camp because they'd received a grant from the U.S. Lacrosse Federation) and ready for practice long before leave time. She practiced with her stick, ball, and brothers on a regular basis during those two weeks and was disappointed when the two weeks concluded. I hadn't seen her this excited about anything in a long time."

Ferris also mentioned that the entire family has benefitted from the TEAM IMPACT experience.

"We've been able to watch the games, meet new people, see old faces - my oldest son's former baseball coach works in the equipment room at Norwich, Amanda's wish granter has a stepson who's a senior on the men's lacrosse team and so forth," Amy Ferris said.

"Amanda really liked participating in practice on April 20 and tie-dying T-shirts. Joey (Amanda's brother) enjoyed the shirts as well, and he and I played soccer during practice. I think it's allowed us some positive, relaxing, enjoyable time away from the stress of hospitals and daily routines as well."

2012-04-25



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