BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University field hockey team welcomed eight-year old Nevaeh as its newest team member on Wednesday at a special Signing Day event.
Nevaeh, along with her family, were officially welcomed to the Bears’ field hockey program during a draft party held in the Adrian Tinsley Center Conference Room on the BSU campus. The team had a chance to greet Nevaeh and present her with an official team jersey and her own personal pink field hockey stick as well as a team autographed ball.
“I can't put into words how excited we are to have Nevaeh with our team,” said BSU head coach Erika Smith. “We have been anxiously waiting to meet her and get to know more about her.”
Nevaeh, who will join the Bears on the sidelines during the upcoming 2012 fall season, was diagnosed with Wilms' Tumor, the most common form of kidney cancer found in children, when she was just 15-months old. After doctors found the tumor, she went in for surgery to have it removed. Unfortunately, during surgery, the tumor exploded and the kidney had to be removed.
Following her surgery, Nevaeh began radiation and chemotherapy but the treatments did not work as her doctors hoped. Her parents made the decision to stop treatment and in doing so, Nevaeh was given three months to live. Miraculously, she is doing great! She still has the tumors, but has been off-treatment for over three years and her only medical requirement is to make a trip to Dana-Farber every six months to check how she is doing physically.
“Hearing her story is extremely moving,” Smith added. “Nevaeh is an inspirational young girl who has shown tremendous courage and determination through her battle with cancer. She is an inspiration for all of us and she will be a great addition to our family.”
The match between Nevaeh and Bridgewater State University came about from the work of Team IMPACT, a new non-profit organization based in Quincy, Mass. that matches kids with life-threatening diseases with college sports teams. In the face of potentially devastating loss, Team IMPACT seeks to be the ultimate win-win.
Nevaeh is currently in the second grade and loves to sing and dance. She is a big fan of the Disney channel, her favorite movie is The Little Mermaid and she is obsessed with Ariel. Nevaeh’s favorite food is Chinese, her favorite colors are pink and purple, and there is nothing she enjoys more than getting her hair and nails done.
“Everyone in BSU Athletics and Recreation looks forward to welcoming Nevaeh as our newest teammate,” said BSU Director of Athletics, John Harper. “I am sure we will gain tremendous inspiration from her while she hopefully gains fun and "family" relationships from us.”
Bridgewater State joins the rapidly growing list of Team IMPACT school partners that among others include, Boston College, Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Stonehill College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy.