Denver, Colo.: (Story and Pictures by Regis University Brand Marketing)
With the signing of 7-year-old Daisy Walsh to Regis' women's lacrosse team on Monday, Regis became the first university in the region to partner with Team IMPACT, a nonprofit that pairs children facing life-threatening illnesses with university sports teams nationwide.
Regis is the first university in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) to sign a player through Team IMPACT, which has been matching children and teams since 2011. The nonprofit, based in Massachusetts, aims to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by utilizing the support, camaraderie and fun offered through sports teams. Team IMPACT, which stands for Inspire, Motivate and Play Against Challenges Together, also notes the inspiring strength and resilience the children bring to the teams they are paired with. Regis' RMAC representative, Ellen Augsburger, said Regis is piloting the program in the west and will hopefully pave the way for more partnerships in the future.
Daisy, who is undergoing treatment for a type of brain cancer called medulloblastoma at the Children's Hospital of Denver, will participate in team activities, join the team at games, and experience life as a college lacrosse player. She and her family – big sister Isabella, mom Natalie and dad Don – were welcomed to the team with a well-attended press conference, complete with a formal signing of her letter of intent. Prior to the conference, she got a taste of team life when players showed her the locker reserved just for her. During the conference, she and Isabella were given team shirts, and members of the team posed several hard-hitting questions, including asking Daisy's favorite color – white – and her favorite animal – pigs.
Natalie Walsh, Daisy's mother, said Daisy and the entire Walsh family are delighted to be a part of the team. She called Daisy, who was diagnosed in April 2013 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, "our hero," and said like other little girls, she enjoys "shiny things, cupcakes, and her big sister."
"It's been a difficult journey," she said. "Thank you for this opportunity."
To follow Daisy's journey, use the tag #DaisyatRegis