Michigan State University Football Team Signs Mason

Funded by the Matthew D. Barsamian Foundation, this special match was officially signed following a recent pre-season scrimmage. The $10,000 donation from the foundation funds the two year Team IMPACT program for 9-year old Mason from Lansing, MI.

9-year old Mason from Lansing, MI joined the MSU football team thanks to a generous $10,000 donation funding the two year Team IMPACT program

At birth, Mason was diagnosed with hydrocephalous and cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a common, lifelong physical disability, which can impact movement, posture, and weakness. Mason uses a wheelchair and is non-verbal. Mason and his family have enjoyed spending time on campus getting to explore the Spartan Stadium, meet the student athletes, and coaches. When he’s not on campus, he enjoys riding rollercoasters, playing with cars and blocks, and playing baseball in Michigan’s Miracle League. 

“It’s exciting to be a part of the Michigan State football family,” said Amanda Calveneau, Mason’s mom. “I’m grateful to the school, Team IMPACT and the Matthew D. Barsamian Foundation for making this possible. Go Spartans!”

The MDBF aims to improve the lives of underprivileged and underserved youth through sports, mentorship, and recreational infrastructure. Matthew Barsamian and his wife, Lauren Barsamian, had just begun to get involved with Team IMPACT when Matthew unexpectedly passed away in 2019. The Barsamian family started MDBF to continue his legacy through charitable endeavors in sports and youth programs.

“The qualities of team that I hope Mason and his teammates gain are togetherness, a positive mental attitude, humility, and reliability. Life is hard – sometimes it is nearly impossible to push forward alone. Through the highs and lows of football and life, these qualities can help both Mason and these young men overcome any obstacle that they might face, so long as they’re doing it with their TEAM.”

-Lauren Barsamian, Founder, The Matthew D. Barsamian Foundation

Born in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Matt Barsamian grew up with a passion for sports. His athletic career culminated at Columbia University, where Matt was an All-Ivy selection and captain of the Columbia Lions football team, proudly wearing number 76. With strong ties to Michigan and New York, MDBF focuses its charitable endeavors in both states to allow Matthew’s extraordinary spirit to live on through others in the places he cherished most.

“The Matthew D. Barsamian Foundation is honored to be part of Team IMPACT’s mission to support children as they face these extreme life challenges,” said Lauren Barsamian, Founder of MDBF. “I have no doubt the Michigan State Football team and its community will embrace Mason as one of their own, lifting him and his family up during the challenging times ahead.  Sometimes it is nearly impossible to push forward alone, as my family and I have learned in the aftermath of Matt’s passing. However, our own “teammates” have been able to carry us when we couldn’t do it ourselves, giving us hope in the darkest of moments. Much like in football, we are focused on our next play– which includes continuing to give kids like Mason an opportunity to thrive in the most important game of all- life.”

MDBF’s partnership with Team IMPACT will not only sponsor a new match with the Spartans football team but will also help fund Team IMPACT’s clinical care model to support additional children in need. This match has special significance for MDBF, as Lauren and several members of Matthew’s family attended Michigan State University, including his twin sister Angela.

“I truly believe that you can’t get through life without relying on your ‘team’ – however that might look for you.”

-Lauren Barsamian, Founder, The Matthew D. Barsamian Foundation

We spoke with Lauren following the special signing day.

How do the missions of Team IMPACT and MDBF align?
Our mission from the inception of our foundation has been to align with sports and youth programs. We created our organization in honor of Matthew Barsamian which meant we were going to exist by living through the values that he maintained. He was all about the ‘team’. Whether it was on an actual field or not, Matt would do whatever it took to support his teammates in sports and in life. He lived by the mantra “NEXT PLAY” and was known to always be moving forward, looking for new ways to better himself and overcome obstacles with an unparalleled enthusiasm for what was next. I believe our foundation’s core values are consistent with the values and mission of Team IMPACT through teamwork, the ‘next play’ mentality, and supporting children to create a better future for them.

What does ‘team’ mean to you?
Team means family. As a young girl playing on several sports teams, I inherently grew to love being a part of a team because I knew that my teammates would always have my back. We learned to lean on each other, learn from each other, and grow with one another. I learned that you can’t do it alone and must rely on those next to you. Matt and I had similar life experiences and therefore built a team around us with our family, friends and colleagues. It was important for us to nurture these relationships on a regular basis in order to have a more fulfilling life. I truly believe that you can’t get through life without relying on your ‘team’ – however that might look for you.