Related topics

8-year-old battling illness signs with UNC cross country team

April 19, 2017

The cross country team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill drafted its youngest member Tuesday.

Eight-year-old Yash Krishnan has visited with the cross country team and he’s already considered an asset. On Monday, his special signing day, he officially became a Tar Heel.

“As you know, at Carolina, we cast our nets far and wide to find the absolute best prospects in the world,” said head cross country coach Mark VanAlystyne.

For Kirshnan, it was a dream come true and an opportunity to take his mind off his rare illness.

Kirshnan has a condition called Biallelic Mismatch Repair Deficiency, or BMR. The disease makes him more likely to develop a number of cancers during his lifetime. His parents say he’s not expected to live past age 20.

“Most families we have come to know with this condition already have kids who have passed away or have kids who are getting aggressive treatment and are fighting tooth and nail,” Kirshnan’s mother, Parvathy Kirshnan, said.

Yash Kirshnan has a 3-year-old sister with the same condition.

The organization Team Impact pairs kids like Yash Kirshnan, who have life-threatening illnesses, with colleges and universities to become members of collegiate sports teams.

“He’s only been in our lives for such a short amount of time, but I feel like every time he doesn’t come to practice or we don’t see him for while it’s like there’s something missing, like a member of our team is missing,” cross country member Mady Clahane said.

Since its inception in 2011, Team Impact has matched 1,100 children to more than 450 colleges and universities throughout the country.