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SMC volleyball partners with Team IMPACT

| Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Saint Mary’s volleyball team has become the second Saint Mary’s athletic team to partner up with Team IMPACT, which connects children facing life-threatening or chronic illness with local college athletic teams, according to its website. The volleyball team has been paired with Melody Blower, a 13-year-old girl who was born with a cleft palate and later diagnosed with Agenesis of the corpus callosum.

Head volleyball coach Denise Van De Walle said she learned of the organization through the Saint Mary’s basketball team’s relationship with Team IMPACT and Brianna Sikora, who joined the basketball team last winter. 

“I learned about all that she does with their team,” Van De Walle said. “It’s been wonderful to watch the growth of their relationship. So when my boss came to me and asked if we would to be involved, I answered with a resounding yes.”

Van De Walle also said the team plans to include Melody in both athletic and social atmospheres and events.

“Mel can be as involved as she wants to be with us,” Van De Walle said. “She can attend our practices, she can sit in the locker room before and after matches, she can come to our banquet, she can attend other athletic events, we can go to the movies, etc. She is welcomed into our team with open arms.”

Clare McMillan, a junior on the team, said she is excited to for the team to get to know Melody and her family. 

“It is a special experience to be able to share our passion with people in the community, and we are so lucky to be able to share and learn from someone as sweet as Melody,” McMillan said.

McMillan said she is also looking forward to seeing Melody learn more about the culture of the Saint Mary’s volleyball team.

“I think our matches will be exciting for her to experience,” McMillan said. “I am also looking forward to learning from Melody. We are a close-knit team, but I think her special personality will bring us together even more.”

Melody was officially inducted into the team Feb. 10 during halftime of the Saint Mary’s volleyball game, where she received her own team apparel and jersey, according to the Saint Mary’s website. 

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