The Transylvania Times -

Nine-Year-Old McKay Joins Tornados Basketball Team - Brevard NC


November 12, 2018

Last Wednesday, the Brevard College men's basketball team held a special ceremony for 9-year-old Russell McKay. McKay, who was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis in 2014, signed to become the newest member of the Tornado basketball team. Brevard head coach Lee Burgess was on hand for the event, as were Russell's parents, seen standing, John Reed (left) and LouAnn Shaw (right). (Times photos by Jeremiah Reed)

Russell McKay, a nine-year old from Cherokee, officially became a member of the Brevard College Men's basketball team at a special Team IMPACT Draft Day Ceremony held Wednesday at the Boshamer Gymnasium.

Russell came to the Tornados via Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams.

In 2014, Russell was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

Russell ceremoniously signed a letter of intent, posed for photographs and answered questions in a press conference setting which was attended by local media, Brevard College officials, and the entire Brevard College men's basketball and women's soccer teams.

Russell has already attended several team practices and will continue with the Tornados throughout the 2018-19 season, joining the Brevard College men's basketball team at both home and away games.

"Russell's ability to rise to the occasion is really impressive," said head men's coach Lee Burgess. "It's been a lot of fun having Russell around so far and we look forward to having him be a part of the team this season. We thank Team IMPACT and Russell's parents for this amazing partnership."

Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston, Mass. that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes.

Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched nearly 1,600 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 49 states, reaching over 50,000 participating student-athletes.

The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child's support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective.

Team IMPACT has more than 1,000 teams waiting to be matched with children, ages 5-16, who have been diagnosed with a serious or chronic illness and who could benefit from becoming a member of the team. If you know a child who may be interested, visit for more information.


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