COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College baseball program introduced 11-year-old Colchester native Le'Ondre "Dre" Brockington as its newest member last month. Dre has joined the team thanks to its work with Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization serving children who are facing life-threatening diseases.
Dre met the baseball team at a pizza party in late October and received official Saint Michael's gear, including a bat that was signed by the team. Dre also took some swings in the indoor batting tunnel in the Tarrant Recreation Center with members of the team as part of his draft day celebration.
"I told Dre that through college and through this baseball program, I was able to create friendships and a brotherhood with every player who has ever graced this team, past and present," said senior captain Andrew DuPrat (Fairfax, Vt./BFA-Fairfax). "And now Dre is part of that family, a family that supports each other through all obstacles and is always working to achieve goals."
Dre, who was shy at first but said he has fun with and looks forward to hanging out with the ballplayers, said he is excited about being part of the team because it makes him feel like he is a part of another family that is there to help him.
Dre enjoys spending time with his three brothers and is an ardent sports fan. His favorite color happens to be the purple that Saint Michael's wears. Dre was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in May, requiring him to undergo numerous blood and platelet transfusions, and he has spent nearly all of the past six months in the hospital. His particular strain of the lift-threatening virus, which attacks blood and bone marrow, currently affects only 30 people worldwide, with Dre one of just five children afflicted. Dre's introduction to the baseball team came just days after his most recent release from the Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.
"What this means to our team is that we are given a unique perspective on a challenging life," added DuPrat. "It makes you appreciate what you have and feel very fortunate and lucky. We take so much in our lives for granted, and it's not right. Dre is helping us appreciate what we have, and it makes us work harder for him and for each other."
Look for Dre at practices and games as the 2013 season approaches. He is the third child this fall to join a Saint Michael's program through Team IMPACT, as men's basketball and field hockey have also been involved.
Team IMPACT is a New England-based non‐profit organization serving children who are facing life‐threatening diseases by creating unparalleled team-based support systems. Core to its model is leveraging the power of teamwork by matching up these courageous kids with college athletic teams. In working with Team IMPACT, Saint Michael's joins Northeast-10 Conference counterparts such at Bentley University and Stonehill College, and fellow Vermont schools like Middlebury College and the University of Vermont. For more information, visit http://goteamimpact.org.