Jacksonville Sports Day

Flagler Women’s Basketball Adds Elizabeth Lopez Through Team IMPACT

ST. AUGUSTINE – In partnership with Team IMPACT, the Flagler College women’s basketball team held a signing day celebration for Elizabeth “Ellie” Lopez on Oct. 14, 2020, at the local beach in St. Augustine. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the formal singing day was postponed to this year.

Her family and the members of the Flagler women’s basketball team joined Lopez during the signing day celebration. She has been with the team all through preseason camp and has become a valuable teammate to all of the players on the team. She has attended practices and games as well as team dinners and other events with her new teammates.

“We are so blessed to have Ellie as a part of our Saints family,” said head women’s basketball coach Mo Smith. “We absolutely love Ellie, and she certainly makes our day brighter when she’s hanging out with us.

“Every time we see Ellie we draw so much inspiration from her strength, courage and resiliency,” said Smith. “Each time Ellie is with us she is always uplifting, positive, and energetic. For me personally, it gives me so much encouragement, considering what she is going through on a daily basis. Ellie is such a warrior and at the same time a great role model who we all can learn from.”

The St. Augustine-native was born in upstate New York and was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that causes thick, sticky layers of mucus to coat the lungs and sinuses, and can also impact the digestive system of the impacted person. More than 70,000 people worldwide are living with CF. Many do not realize her struggles until they get to meet her and see her daily routines. Ellie’s days start at 5:30 a.m. with chest therapies and medications before going to school. It ends around 7 p.m. the same way. It requires a lot of dedication and strength for her to complete these tasks. She has at last 35 medications daily.

Ellie is a sixth-grader at Pacetti Bay Middle School in St. Augustine. She has two brothers (Chris and Alexander) and two sisters (Lindsey and Nicole). Her favorite color is purple, which is the color used for cystic fibrosis. She loves to watch television shows, play Roblox, and looks forward to playing a team sport like basketball or softball.

“We have been so blessed to be a part of the Flagler College family and the women’s basketball team,” said Christina Lopez, the proud mother of Ellie. “All of the coaching staff and the team have really made not only Ellie, but all of us welcome. This is truly an amazing program!”

Team IMPACT has more than 1,200 teams across the country waiting to be matched with children, ages 5-16, who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening or chronic illness and who could benefit from becoming a member of the team. If you know a child who may be interested, please visit www.teamimpact.org for more information.

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