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10-year-old Aida Aleshire graduates from UVA Volleyball program

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - “It’s like it’s in a book, but it’s always in your memory in your heart,” 10-year old Aida Aleshire said.

In 2019, she signed her national letter of intent to join the University of Virginiia volleyball program through Team Impact, a nonprofit that pairs children with chronic illnesses with college athletic programs. Little did Aida know she’d become part of the family.

“It’s just so fun to be with a team who treats you like a little sister,” Aleshire said.

At the age of five, Aida Aleshire was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. “Its tough sometimes, but you always get through it,” she said.

“She has no function of her pancreas so we are her pancreas,” Aida’s mom Missy Aleshire siad. “When she’s at school, her school nurses her pancreas or teachers her pancreas,” Missy said.

Aida’s time on the court became an escape. Her mom, Missy says it was somewhere that Aida felt she belonged.

“She was included and she didn’t feel different and she felt like she was a part of something incredible,” Missy said.

Milla Ciprian, a fourth year member of the UVA Volleyball team, says becoming friends with Aida made her a better person.

“I have learned humility, I have learned to just go at life with full energy 100% and I have learned to just, be full confidence, all the time and love myself,” she said.

Sporting an insulin pump on her waist and a patch on her arm, Aida doesn’t let being diabetic get in her way.

“Just because you have type one [diabetes] or anything doesn’t mean you can’t go out there and achieve your goals,” Aida said. “You want to be the best you can.”

While it’s the dance parties, team huddles, and many ice cream trips she’ll remember from her time with the team, just because she’s graduated doesn’t mean those relationships end.

“When I get a phone, I’ll probably text them,” she said. “We’ll probably go to their games and if we do, we’ll probably go get ice cream after.”

“Even though she’s graduated, just like any other alum, she’s always welcome,” Ciprian said. “She’s always welcome at our games and we want her there. We love her.”

While Aida is now picking up tennis, Aida’s love for volleyball doesn’t stop here. She hopes to one day wear the orange blue, again.

“If anyone ever tells you, you can’t do this because you have a disease or something don’t believe them because you can achieve your goals any way you want to,” Aida said.

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