'Hoos Volleyball welcomes newest teammate through Team Impact

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 Sports) -- Aida Aleshire found a passion for volleyball early on.

"My aunt coaches volleyball so she's told me to look up and come look up at the volleyball girls,” said Aida. “So I went over there and I just fell in love with it"

At just eight years old, Aida is the newest member of the Virginia volleyball squad.

"Very very happy," said Aida.

Team Impact is an organization that pairs children facing serious or chronic illnesses, such as Aida, who is battling type-one diabetes, with collegiate athletic programs.

"There's not a day that goes by where we don't have some sort of a challenge of really low lows or really high highs with her numbers," said Aida’s mom, Melissa Aleshire.

Today, Aida officially became a Wahoo, joining a team with their arms wide open.

"Just like she's coming onto the team she's like our little first year," said sophomore middle hitter Milla Ciprian.

Milla Ciprian is UVA’s representative for Team Impact, and she was thrilled when they got paired with Aida.

"'We have a match for you if you guys were interested, let us know' and my team and I jumped on the opportunity," said Ciprian.

The Wahoos already know how special Aida is.

"She is a total fashionista she is super happy,” said Ciprian. “She wants to be here and just like she wants to be here, I want to be here for her."

"She's just a ball of energy she's very brave,” said volleyball coach Aaron Smith. “Very courageous little girl who again is dealing with something on a day to day basis."

The benefits of the newest teammate going both ways.

"It's a two-way street really here you know, her being an inspiration to us and hopefully us inspiring her," said Smith.

“It's amazing that she can come in and make us smile when we're trying to make her smile,” said Ciprian.

Aida has an older brother, but now, she has more than a dozen girls to call big sisters.

"[I can] practice with them, go to the games with them, maybe watch movies with them," said Aida.

Days aren't always easy, but wearing Cavelier orange and blue puts a smile on her face.

“This is the most amazing distraction for her to let her know that nothing can stop her,” said Melissa Aleshire. “Abilities, disabilities, you can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it."



 
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