On Feb. 11, 2018, the volleyball team held a special press conference to welcome the newest member of their team. With the help of an organization called Team IMPACT, the volleyball program selected 7-year-old Sandra Love to become part of the team.
Love is from Obetz, Ohio, and is battling cystic fibrosis. Through Team IMPACT, Love was able to become part of the team, even receiving her own jersey. By officially joining the program, Love will be able to attend practices, matches, team dinners and other events with the volleyball team.
Team IMPACT is a nonprofit organization based in Boston that helps children with life-threatening diseases by pairing them with college athletic teams. By doing this, the children form important bonds with their college teammates. Team IMPACT, sponsored by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, has partnered with more than 1,000 college teams across the country and seeks to produce life-changing outcomes by pairing children with these teams.
The press conference began with Love answering some questions about why she wanted to play volleyball. Though she momentarily shied away from direct questions, Love told her audience that in addition to volleyball, she also enjoys playing basketball and dancing. She took this opportunity to ensure the team that there would be a dance party before every game. When asked how it felt to be part of the team, Love said that she was “really excited.”
Upon being asked who her hero was, Love replied that it was her mother, who was also present at the signing day. Love was given a volleyball jersey bearing number 7, and her commitment was finalized with an official letter of intent, signed by her and head coach Amanda Hubbard.
Though she is a girl of few words, Love immediately endeared herself to the volleyball team. Though they had made contact during the season, the press conference and dancing that followed only solidified Sandra’s relationship with the team. It is obvious that Sandra has an extremely positive effect on the athletes.
“To be able to have fun with her … it’s great for us,” Hubbard said to Channel 4 News shortly after the press conference.
“Her personality is just so great,” added first-year Tara Zisner during the same correspondence.