FITCHBURG, Mass.—Fitchburg State University softball players and coaches officially welcomed the Johnston family during a Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, Play Against Challenges Together) Draft Day on Thursday inside the Recreation Center as thirteen-year-old Emma Johnston signed a contract as softball's newest member.
Emma, who hails from Lunenburg, Mass., was diagnosed with a seizure disorder (SCN8A) after she began having seizures at just seven weeks old. SCN8A is very rare with less than 200 people diagnosed worldwide. This fall Emma spent time with the softball leadership group and visited the team at practices and attended the annual Alumni game. Some of her favorite things are watching Disney movies, dancing and ice cream and she hopes to work for PIXAR when she grows up.
Emma was joined by her mother Colleen and brother Jake at the signing ceremony, however her big sister Michelle who is away at college and her dad Scott were unable to attend. Emma received an official Falcons contract and softball jersey, while Jake received a Falcon Fanatic t-shirt.
"The Falcons softball family has been waiting 4 years for Team IMPACT to give us the call," said Fitchburg State University head coach Merry MacDonald, "but I think everyone would agree that it was definitely worth the wait for Emma. Emma is a daily inspiration to all of us and we are so glad to have her join our Falcon community. We are such a stronger team this year with the addition of our youngest teammate."
Softball is one of three Falcons programs currently partnering with Team IMPACT, as men's soccer and ice hockey are also members.
Team IMPACT is a northeast-based non-profit organization aiming to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. Team IMPACT strives to provide team-based support for children facing the hardships associated with adverse issues and events to significantly enhance their quality of life.