Ford Parks signs with Huskies hoopsters through Team IMPACT

Seven-year-old Ford Parks of Mercer Island poses with the University of Washington men’s basketball team while his mother Effie Parks takes photos. Ford, who is battling a rare genetic disorder, signed with the Huskies through Team IMPACT, a nonprofit organization matching disabled children with college athletic teams across the country. Coach Mike Hopkins described the newest addition to the team as “tough, hardworking and full of joy,” during an emotional ceremony on Oct. 18. Ford will attend team activities, including practices and games, for the next two seasons. He is enrolled at Northwood Elementary School on the Island. Hopkins said: “Our program is built around toughness, grittiness and togetherness. Ford is 7, and he’s already overcome more adversity than most people do their whole lives.” Ford is battling a rare genetic disorder called CTNNB1 Syndrome. Team IMPACT is a Boston-based nonprofit that connects children facing chronic illnesses with college teams. Photo courtesy of UW Athletics