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Ellington 11-year-old travels to Houston for UConn NCAA championship game with Team IMPACT

Ryan Ellingwood, 11, of Ellington was matched with the UConn Men's Basketball team in 2018.

HOUSTON, Texas County — An 11-year-old Ellington boy was granted the wish of a lifetime.

Rylan Ellingwood was able to attend the NCAA Championship on Monday night in Houston, Texas with his mother to his UConn Huskies play thanks to Team IMPACT.

The non-profit organization has matched children facing serious illnesses and disabilities with college sports teams.

Ellingwood suffers from an immunodeficiency disorder and was matched with the UConn Men's Basketball team in 2018. He and his dad, who just so happens to also be a former college athlete himself, have formed a special bond attending countless games together throughout the five seasons.

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FOX61 spoke to Ellingwood and his mother via Zoom about the friendships he has developed with many of the players. 

"I’ve said this a lot but it means the world to me. There’s certain things that mean a lot but this means the most," said Ellingwood. 

"One of the guys cut down a piece of the net for him. They were hugging him and thanking him for coming and telling him how much this meant to them and we're sitting here like oh my gosh, how does this mean anything to you, it means everything to us!" said Tanya Ellingwood, Rylan's mother. 

UConn — a No. 4 seed — beat No. 5 seed San Diego State 76-59 on Monday night in Houston for its fifth title in the past 24 years. The Huskies and coach Dan Hurley cruised through the tournament in impressive fashion, winning all six games by at least 10 points.

Team IMPACT also flew Ellingwood and his mom out to Las Vegas last week to help the Huskies advance through the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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