MEDFORD - Luke Giuffrida, a courageous 10-year old boy from Methuen, Massachusetts, was drafted by the Tufts University men's basketball team on Monday (Oct. 30) at the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center.
Luke is one of 30,000 patients in the United States living courageously with cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease predominantly diagnosed in children by the age of 2. He and the team were connected through the Team IMPACT CF Project sponsored by Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Children who have CF, like Luke, are drafted onto local college athletic teams and become an official member of the team to support the child's physical, social and emotional needs. By being a part of the Tufts Men's Basketball program, Luke will attend Jumbo practices, games, team dinners, events, and more.
The draft was also an early birthday celebration for Luke, who turns 11 on Thursday. Prior to the draft, the Jumbos hosted Luke, his brother Gianni and approximately 10 friends for a pick-up basketball game at historic Cousens Gym.
Several members of the Tufts team participated in the draft event. Senior Thomas Lapham served as the master of ceremonies. Seniors Ben Engvall, Vincent Pace and KJ Garrett all took the podium to share what it means to be part of the Jumbo Men's Basketball program that Luke would be joining.
Sophomore Eric Savage then announced Luke as the Jumbos' #1 draft pick. At this time, he was interupted with late-breaking news that the Jumbos had made a trade to acquire the #2 pick in the draft as well. With that choice, Tufts slected Luke's brother Gianni.
Upon being introduced as the team's selections, Luke and Gianni were presented a Tufts basketball jersey and hat by head coach Bob Sheldon. The boys were joined at the head table by their father Carmen and mother Sherry, who represented the family with comments thanking everyone in attendance. Everyone then celebrated Luke's birthday and the draft with cake and pizza.
"The Tufts Men's Basketball program is about family first," Coach Sheldon said. "We are all very excited to welcome Luke and his family into our family."
Building upon a partnership that began in 2011, Luke is one of 11 Team IMPACT teammates who have been drafted by the Jumbos. Friends as students at Tufts in the late 1980s, Jay Calnan, Kris Herman, Dan Kraft, Robert Tishman and Dan Walsh helped found Team IMPACT. Learn more about the organization at http://www.goteamimpact.org/.
Men's Basketball Team Impact Draft