Patriots stars Matthew Slater and Patrick Chung, owner Robert Kraft, and Governor Charlie Baker were among the celebrities at a charity gala for Team IMPACT. The organization pairs children facing serious and chronic illnesses with their favorite college sports teams.
For Jude Stamper, a 13-year-old with a disorder that robs him of the ability to normally bend his joints, that meant a trip to the Final Four. Team IMPACT paired Stamper with Michigan basketball as they battled their way to the NCAA Championship game.
“It’s pretty crazy that I’m able to be a part of something like this because I’m not able to do it physically,” Stamper said.
Angelina Seal is also paired with her favorite team, the women’s volleyball team at Shepherd University in West Virginia. The 13-year-old was born with lumbo sacral agenesis, which causes failure of the lower spine to develop. She says that does not stop her from playing the sport she loves and supporting her team.
“Every time they hit the ball, I just say something to motivate them so they can keep working harder,” Seal said.
For the pros who attended the event, like Patriots running back Rex Burkhead, they came to the gala to fundraise and left inspired.
“To really have the perspective that these kids are battling something, That’s nothing compared to what I’m going through,” Burkhead said.
Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,500 children with over 500 colleges and universities.