On Tuesday afternoon, little Adaline Christopherson very carefully signed her name on an important piece of paper. It officially drafted her onto the University of Sioux Falls Volleyball team. It's an exciting day for the five-year-old from Sioux Falls who's already battled so much in her young life.
"She has hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy. It's something that she was born with, she has an opportunity to grow out of it and it just means that her body doesn't produce immunoglobulins to fight off disease and infection. She caught a cold recently and she ended up in the intensive care unit,” her mom, Alice Christopherson, explains.
Because of this potentially life-threatening condition, she's had very little social interaction to keep her from getting sick. But, thanks to USF and a nonprofit called Team Impact-- she's been able to spend some time with the volleyball team, her new group of “girlfriends.”
It’s a new experience and so is trying out going to school this year with kids her own age.
"It's a trial and error thing, we'll see. We're trying it because she deserves to try and see how she does in that atmosphere,” Alice says.
Alice and Adaline’s dad, Neil, say being part of the volleyball team has made a huge difference in their daughter's life.
"It gives her something to look forward to where we only had doctor's appointments and it's helped her socialize,” Alice says.
Neil adds, “She's a lot happier now that she's able to get out of her room and not be on lockdown."
USF Volleyball Head Coach Joel McCartney says she's already done a lot of cool stuff with the squad.
“She's prayed with us and led a team cheer,” he says.
That will all continue, meaning there’s plenty of fun ahead for this happy little girl.
USF says Adaline can be an honorary member of the team for as many seasons as she wants. Her mom says she could be a member of the team for the next few years.