BABSON PARK, Mass.—The Babson College men's basketball program officially welcomed the newest member of its program on Friday afternoon as 7-year-old Luke Iorio joined the Beavers through a partnership with Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, Play Against Challenges Together).
Team IMPACT matches children ages 5-15 who are diagnosed with a life-threatening or chronic illness that has resulted in treatment and/or extended hospital stays within the past three years with teams at colleges and universities across the country. Team IMPACT children gain great strength, camaraderie and support, and the student-athletes are taught lessons about courage, resiliency and life perspective that they can't learn in a classroom. The organization has paired more than 1,200 children with over 450 colleges and universities, which includes 15 at Babson.
"We are so excited to welcome Luke into our men's basketball family," expressed Babson head coach Stephen Brennan. "Having this second opportunity to work with Team IMPACT is a blessing and has been mutually beneficial to both Luke and our student-athletes. Luke's courage in the face of cancer is inspirational and provides our guys with tremendous perspective on how fortunate we are to have our health and the opportunity to play college basketball. Luke also brings us together off the court, and his love of musical chairs, freeze tag and pizza keeps everyone laughing. We are the fortunate ones who are truly impacted by Luke and his family."
Luke, who hails from nearby Natick, officially signed with the defending national champions and was presented with a No. 4 jersey before answering questions from current team members at a press conference on Friday inside Babson's Staake Gymnasium. Following the press conference, the team enjoyed pizza with Luke and his family, and then played musical chairs and freeze tag on the court. Luke, who was diagnosed just over two years ago, is recovering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
"Luke has been an amazing supporter of our program since the start of last year and we couldn't be happier to announce his signing with our team," commented senior Chris Lowry. "Whether he's cheering at our games or playing freeze tag with us on the weekends, we appreciate the positive energy he constantly brings as seeing him brightens each one of our days. His ability to maintain a smile no matter what is happening in life is something we can all appreciate and learn to do better, as Luke's fun-loving and determined attitude illustrate the importance of never taking a moment in life for granted, whether it's on the basketball court or in everyday life. We're extremely excited to continue building an already strong relationship with Luke, and while we've considered him part of our Babson basketball family since the beginning of last year, we are grateful for his newly official commitment to the team."
Luke and his new teammates wrap up the first semester against nationally-ranked Amherst on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Staake Gymnasium.