ST. AUGUSTINE – In partnership with Team IMPACT, the Flagler College men's and women's golf teams held a signing day celebration for Raffi Griffiths Thursday night at Flagler Gymnasium.
His family, and the members of the golf teams as well as several other Flagler student-athletes, joined Raffi during the signing day celebration.
"We are blessed to have Raffi officially become a Saint and we are sure the impact we have on him will be just as great as the one he has on all of us," said director of golf Santiago Cavanagh.
Originally from Racine, Wisconsin, Raffi and his family moved to St. Augustine three years ago. He was diagnosed with severe hemophilia A. Hemophilia A, also called classic hemophilia or factor VIII deficiency, is a genetic (or inherited) blood clotting disorder that occurs when clotting factor VIII is either absent or not present in sufficient amounts. There is no cure for hemophilia A, but there are a number of treatment options.
Raffi is a first grader at Otis Mason Elementary School in St. Augustine. Although you can't physically see his disorder, he has to be careful of injury. Raffi had to do three factor infusions weekly into his port. He took a giant leap of faith by having his port removed. Raffi began a new treatment called HEMLIBRA®, which is a bi-weekly shot. That has changed the quality of his life tremendously. Raffi no longer has to worry about port infections or fever.
"We are beyond grateful for the thoughtfulness and the opportunity for Raffi to be a part of the Flagler golf teams," said Deana Griffiths, the proud mother of Raffi. "It makes him feel a sense of pride. There are so many activities that he has to sit out and this makes him feel a part of something greater, which is priceless for all of us."
Raffi started playing golf a couple of years ago through First Tee of North Florida. His parents wanted to put him in a sport that had no contact of impact and he loved the game of golf immediately. One of his favorite things to do is go to the driving range. Raffi loves to swing the irons and play putting games.
ABOUT TEAM IMPACT
Team IMPACT's unique multiyear program signs children facing serious illness and disability onto college athletic teams across the country. Based on a clinical model, Team IMPACT guides a symbiotic relationship between teams and children focused on socialization, empowerment, and resilience, ensuring everyone involved has the personalized game plan they need to win – effectively building confidence and independence. Founded in 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 2,300 children with 700+ colleges and universities in 49 states, impacting more than 60,000 student-athletes. If you know a child or team who may be interested, please visit www.teamimpact.org