COLCHESTER, Vt. - As part of a campaign shining a light on cystic fibrosis, the Saint Michael's College field hockey team has been featured in a recent video highlighting the squad's five-year relationship with a local youth living with the illness. The feature is the latest attention the Purple Knights have received this year for their friendship with 17-year-old Maureen Eddy, which included a Team IMPACT graduation ceremony and a resolution reading at the Vermont Statehouse.
In September 2012, Maureen became a teammate of the Saint Michael's field hockey players through Team IMPACT, which improves the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by connecting the youths with local sports teams. This past April 22, the team held a special graduation ceremony from Team IMPACT for Maureen, who later graduated from South Burlington High School this month and will take a gap year before attending the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.
Since 1989, Boston-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals has been working on a cure for CF. Through its community partnerships, Vertex has collaborated with organizations such as the CF Foundation and Team IMPACT, and many of its employees have supported biking and running fundraisers for CF research. Its "All in for CF" campaign is designed to provide an inside look at the approaches Vertex is taking to reach people with CF and support the CF community, and to shine a spotlight on members of the community. Through this campaign, the two-minute, 32-second video, which can be viewed at vrtx.com, discusses the connection between the field hockey program and the Eddy family.
On April 25, the Eddy Family, Team IMPACT and the Purple Knights - represented by head coach Carla Hesler and May graduates Carolyn Avery and Kimberly MacPhail - were recognized through a resolution read on the Vermont Statehouse floor. In part, the resolution formally lauded the field hockey program for demonstrating "an extraordinary commitment to the Team IMPACT program, both in welcoming Maureen Eddy to numerous activities and participating in events to raise awareness and funds for the Northern New England chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation." The Statehouse visit came less than a week before the beginning of May's National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.
The Purple Knights have supported Maureen and her family's cause for nearly half a decade. In addition to hosting their first CF Awareness Game last fall, the squad has participated in the CF Foundation's Great Strides walk at Burlington's Oakledge Park each of the last five years as part of Team Eddy. Both Maureen and her younger sister are afflicted with CF, a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, and 70,000 worldwide. The disease can lead to life-threatening lung infections, and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. Through various events, the Eddy family has raised more than $140,000 for the CF Foundation since 2003.