FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Courtesy of SJC Athletics Communications
STANDISH, Maine – The Saint Joseph's College field hockey program officially welcomed their latest teammate on Thursday when the Monks signed 16-year-old Kayla Collins, from neighboring town Windham, through Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, Play Against Challenges, Together) in a signing ceremony held in the Hall of Fame Room of the Harold Alfond Center.
Kayla, the daughter of Trista and Dave Collins, joins the Saint Joseph's field hockey program while battling an extremely rare genetic disorder from which only four individuals in the United States are afflicted. The condition, which shares similar characteristics of those found on the Autism spectrum, does not have a name.
When asked about bringing Kayla into the program, SJC head coach Rupert Lewis stated, "It's not about the wins and losses but the impact you make on a student-athlete's life. If you can touch someone that's so young and have a profound impact to make a difference, it gives me chills to know we're doing the right thing."
"It's already changed her a little bit," said Kayla's father Dave. "She's happier, she's happy to be a part of it. The support she's getting and the fun she's having with them at practice running drills, it's amazing. "Kayla, a member of the Windham High School field hockey program, began practicing with the Monks several weeks ago and her parents have already noticed a change in her demeanor."
Upon signing her Saint Joseph's and Team IMPACT "Letter of Intent," Kayla was given her jersey, which sports the number 23 on the back. The players also gave her a gift bag brimming with St. Joe's gear and her parents received some apparel as well.
When asked what her favorite part of the signing ceremony was, Kayla replied, "getting the uniforms."
Her Windham teammates also attended the ceremony and cheered loudly when she was introduced to the crowd as the newest member of the SJC field hockey team.
Kayla is the second individual to be matched with a Monks team through Team IMPACT, an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team. Joshua Peterson, adopted by the SJC men's lacrosse program in 2017, was the first.
Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched nearly 1,600 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 48 states, reaching over 50,000 participating student-athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child's support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective they can't learn in a classroom.
Team IMPACT has more than 1,000 teams waiting to be matched with children, ages 5-16, who have been diagnosed with a serious or chronic illness and who could benefit from becoming a member of the team. If you know a child who may be interested, visit www.goteamimpact.org for more information.