Kids at Shriners Children’s get matched with sports teams for field day

CHICAGO — At Shriners Children’s Chicago, the second annual field day may have come with a dose of rain outside, but the medicine for these children is worth it.

“It’s been amazing, we have indoor space, we have outdoor space,” Kiernan McGeehan with Team IMPACT said. “Just wanted to give families an opportunity to come out and do something together.”

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Team IMPACT is a program that matches children and their families with college sports teams for two years.

The kids go through the same process as student-athletes.

“The child gets to sign their letter of intent with the team, we usually see if the team will give the kid some team gear and maybe a spot in the locker room, so signing day is a really awesome moment in our program where the child and family have a sense of belonging with their team,” McGeehan said.

Caileigh Walsh with Northwestern Women’s Basketball said it’s rewarding to give back to the kids and the community.

Sarah Hernandez, 9, who is living with cerebral palsy, it’s a game changer being signed to Wheaton College’s women’s soccer.

“Having fun with the girls and having so much fun. I just really like it,” Hernandez said. “They really inspire me to keep going.”

Her mom, Maria, thinks the world of it.

“The girls are teaching her to love her,” Maria said. “To enjoy herself and enjoy the journey that she’s going through.”

It’s a way to bring joy, to the families dealing with serious illness in children they love.

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