Is this the new fad in sports recruiting? General managers from across the country have been signing children as young as 5 years old to jump on board both professional and collegiate squads. Rather, these teams are offering honorary positions to childhood cancer patients whose passion for the game- be it soccer, basketball or golf- has helped them conquer some unimaginable challenges!
Recently, national news focused a story on 5-year old “free agent guard” J.P. Gibson, who is currently battling ALL- or acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J.P. got to toss the rock around with some of his favorite professional players after an elaborate signing ceremony. This small gesture meant the world to J.P. and his family- showing J.P. all that is possible in life. Check out the video below- adorable!
Three of our Shining Stars are also honored athletes at Denver’s Regis University, signing contracts through a program called Team IMPACT. Not only will Stars Jamie, Miles and Alex attend practices with the Rangers- Jamie with the Women’s Soccer team, Miles with the Men's Baseball team and Alex with the Men’s Golf squad, but will be invited to all organized events, community service projects, home games, ice cream parties- pretty much wherever the team goes!
Team IMPACT strives to improve quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team. Similarly, Shining Stars strives to allow these children to see their future in a brighter light. We seek to improve quality of life by showing these children all that they are capable of and all the amazing things the future can hold, while supporting them in the present and giving them new opportunities to truly live out each day to the fullest.
Another parallel between Team IMPACT and Shining Stars is the teamwork driven approach to life. At the Aspen Winter Games, we bring kids of all ages together who are facing or have faced similar challenges. Throughout the week these kids form extremely strong bonds with one another. These relationships are reinforced each year at the Grand County Family Adventure, where not only the child but their entire family is able to come together with other families and support one another through some of the darkest times of their lives. This support network extends from peer to peer, sibling to sibling and parent to parent. Having that huge Shining Stars team to rely on throughout the cancer journey provides hope and comfort to each member of our amazing families.
I can tell you one thing- Team Shining Stars is about as tough a team as you’ll encounter in this game we call life!