FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EASTON, Mass. – The Stonehill softball program has announced the signing of Hanover, Massachusetts native Arianna Gallagher to its program during a draft day through Team IMPACT at the Sally Blair Sports Complex recently prior to playing a doubleheader against Saint Rose. Arianna, 14-years old, was diagnosed at the age of one with Williams Syndrome. This syndrome is a genetic condition that causes different developmental delays and medical complexities. Arianna has to monitor her cardiac status because of the affects it takes on her heart. She also had a spinal fusion three years ago.
Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, Play Against Challenges Together), a national nonprofit that connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses with local college athletic teams to form life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes, matched Ari with the softball team and they first met at a Saturday morning practice in mid-March.
“Ari was very upbeat, had a smile on her face that was extremely contagious, and when I first introduced myself she gave me a hug right away,” stated sophomore Kazi Walker. “We couldn’t have asked for a better match. This team is already very enthusiastic, so adding one more person to the group will just mean more memories and smiles.”
On Saturday, April 7 at 9:30 a.m., it was official, Ari signed her name on the line and became the 18th member of this year’s softball team. At the ceremony, Ari was given her own Stonehill softball jersey (#14), fitting her age, a matching softball cap, a bag filled with goodies, and of course a picture with Ace. By signing the contract, she agreed to be a part of the team by coming to practices and games whenever she can and representing her teammates by wearing her Stonehill gear.
“I want to thank Team IMPACT for the wonderful work that they do, so that we could have a match with Arianna,” remarked Head Coach Ken LeGrice. “It was a long recruiting process, there were a lot of colleges and universities that were interested in signing Arianna and we are pleased to have her sign with Stonehill today. Her energy, enthusiasm, and friendliness will inspire us every day when we step on the field.”
In attendance was the entire softball team, Ari’s family including her mother, Michelle, her father Tim, and her grandfather. “We are on cloud nine from such an amazing day!” exclaimed Michelle. “It is truly one of the best days of Arianna’s life. We are forever grateful.”
Ari was also surprised with her own locker in the softball locker room filled with a helmet, a bat, a rally towel, and a ball signed by the whole team. Following the signing, Ari threw out the first pitch of the Skyhawks doubleheader against Saint Rose.
- Information for this release - including photos and video - provided by the athletic communications staff at Stonehill
ABOUT TEAM IMPACT
Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston, Mass. 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 more than 1,300 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 47 states, reaching over 35,000 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.
ABOUT THE NE10
The NE10 is an association of 15 diverse institutions serving student-athletes across 24 NCAA Division II sports. Together we build brilliant futures by embracing the journey of every student-athlete.
Each year, 4,500 of those student-athletes compete in conference championships in 24 sports, making the NE10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.