Twelve-year-old Matthew Beaudry was officially signed to the RWU Men’s Basketball team on Saturday, Oct. 26.
From Fall River, Massachusetts, Beaudry was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2007, and suffered a relapse in 2011. In March of this year, he was hospitalized for tachycardia. According to his mother, Stephanie Beaudry, that’s when the family started to get in touch with Team IMPACT, an organization which helps children facing serious illnesses connect with college sports teams.
“He was hospitalized back in March and basically got really depressed from being in-patient so much,” Stephanie Beaudry said of her son. “Because he’s been in and out of the hospital so much, he was at a point where he was like, ‘why is it only me going through this? Why is this happening to me?'”
“I reached out to see if there was anything out there for him that could make him feel like he’s not alone,” Stephanie Beaudry said.
After reaching out to Team IMPACT, Matthew got involved with RWU basketball earlier this year. Men's Basketball Head Coach Michael Tully spoke to the process of recruiting Matthew to the team.
“We’ve had him here a couple times on campus already, just to hang out with some of the guys,” Tully said. “They’ve played basketball with him in the gym and taken him to soccer games, things like that.”
As a now-official member of the team, Beaudrey was given his own locker in the team locker room and a team uniform. During the team’s games this season, Matthew will sit on the bench with the players, where he will sport number 33 of the Hawks’ uniforms.
According to Tully, the players were very enthusiastic about their new teammate.
“We talked to our guys about it. Obviously, the coaching staff wanted us to do it but when I mentioned it to them they were completely on board,” Tully said. “It was the team’s decision. We want him to be here as much as possible. He’ll sit on the bench and be a part of it.”
“Matthew is super excited about it,” Stephanie Beaudrey said. “He’s like a brand new boy every time he’s with them.”
Looking to the future, Coach Tully is certain that Matthew will have a positive impact on the team.
“If we can impact Matthew’s life in a positive way, I think that the experience that our players will get from this in terms of what they can do for him will be life changing,” Tully said. “Basketball is a vehicle for us to do more impactful things outside of basketball itself and this is certainly one of them. I think what Matthew will do for us will be impactful for the rest of [the team members'] lives.”