8-Year-Old Aida Joins UVA Women's Volleyball Team
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Eight-year-old Aida Aleshire is signing her national letter of intent with the University of Virginia Women’s Volleyball team.
“We’re really excited for Aida to be joining the program. We met her last week for the first time and today was a really special opportunity,” said head coach Aaron Smith.
Aida was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 5 years old, and many day can feel like a battle for her. She comes from Team IMPACT, which is a nonprofit that connects children facing chronic illnesses with college athletic teams.
“The organization reached out to our team and said, 'Hey we have a match for you if you guys are interested.' My team and I jumped on the opportunity. Her coming in every day and struggling with something every single day, it’s amazing that she can come in and make us smile when we’re trying to make her smile,” said middle and Team IMPACT representative Millan Ciprian.
“Tearful. Tears of joy. There are no words to describe it. Aida’s daily life is constantly checking her sugar and being alert. There are no breaks. It’s a 24/7 job and this is the most amazing distraction for her,” says Aida’s mother.
Aida is more than grateful for this opportunity and says the players have made her feel at home: "Amazing, because they’ve really introduced me to the team, and I’m a really big fan of them," she said.
Not only did Aida consider playing for UVA, but she had options and was looking at other colleges as well.
“Mary Baldwin [University] and another college. I like this one the most, because of their colors," said Aleshire.
“My team wants to be there for her and her family. We want to be her second family, that’s the reason why we do something like this. I hope all student athletes should want to be apart of this,” said Ciprian.
“It’s bigger than wins and losses. There more things than sports, there’s more things than competition. To make an impact in people’s lives makes a difference,” said the coach.