Bronxville, N.Y. – This past Saturday, the Concordia College men's basketball team welcomed their newest teammate Eli (age 6) to our Bronxville Campus. Eli was accompanied by his parents Douglas and Deborah along with his sister Charlie (age 9).
Eli is a very special teammate for the Clippers as in February of this year he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the most common form of pediatric blood cancer. A bond between Eli's family and the Clippers' program was fostered by Team IMPACT, an organization which helps place children battling illness with college athletic programs.
Eli arrived outside of the Meyer Athletic Center and he was immediately walked into the gym by head coach Brian Sondey and introduced to his new group of teammates. Everyone took a big team picture, and then Eli was walked up to his scholarship signing on the upper level of the Meyer Center. Eli had a big smile on his face as he signed his very own E.L.I (Eli Letter of Intent) welcoming him to our Clipper Family.
From there Eli and family were treated to an exciting day of Concordia soccer as our team gathered to watch parts of the men's and women's games against Wilmington (Del.) as the campus was also celebrating Homecoming. At the soccer games the basketball program learned all about their new teammate. They learned that Eli loves super heroes and chocolate ice cream with sprinkles.
Eli and the men's basketball team participated in cheers with the cheerleading team, ate pizza, and talked about some ideas for Eli's next event here on campus. Eli and Charlie even got a special all-access ride onto the field from Associate Athletic Director Kathy Laoutaris.
"I was absolutely amazed at the impact our group of young men can have on someone like Eli," stated Sondey. "Seeing all of them smiling together was a truly special moment. Our whole group had goose bumps as we watched Eli sign his scholarship and join our team. I think it made us all realize how fortunate we are to have the lives we have, and to be able to welcome Eli and his family to our Clipper Family is an amazing thing."
"Eli is going to make us so much better as coaches, players, and people," continued Coach Sondey. "Our only hope is we can return the favor. Thank you so much from our entire group to Erin and Amy at Team IMPACT for making this possible."
Future plans with the Concordia men's basketball's newest teammate may include attending one of Eli's sister's youth soccer matches and a "Game Day" here at Concordia featuring Dorm Mini Golf, Mario Kart, and other fun activities. Please stay tuned to ConcordiaClippers.com for future updates.