BURLINGTON, Vt. – A six year-old girl battling leukemia was greeted by the entire University of Vermont field hockey team on Friday for a draft day celebration where she became an official team member.
Morgan Van Nostrand has been bravely battling leukemia since January, and she was accompanied by her parents and siblings for the celebration. Head Coach Kate Pfeifer made it official by handing Morgan a letter of intent to join the team, which she signed.
The moment was made possible by the nonprofit organization Team Impact, which helps improve the quality of life for children facing serious illnesses by connecting them with a team to help them through treatment.
“We’ve been interested in having a Team Impact player for awhile,” said Kailyn Myshrall, a UVM field hockey player. “Last spring, we heard for the first time we got a match, and we were able to meet Morgan and her family and start building a connection.”
As a team member, Morgan will be side-by-side with all the other players at practices, games and team dinners. It didn’t take long for Morgan to warm up to her new teammates at the post-ceremony dinner, and she’s a source of inspiration for the Catamounts.
“Her strength, courage and positivity is really admirable,” Myshrall said. “That’s something that’s really inspiring us and keeping us grounded, what we go through every day is nothing compared to what she’s going through and her optimism is something we’re keeping in our heads.”
When asked if she’s excited to go to the field hockey games this year, Morgan had a simple, yet definitive answer – “Yes!”