6-year-old Joins UCONN Huskies Women’s Basketball Team
Her name is Daniela Ciriello, a 6-year-old from Plainville, CT, and she’s been diagnosed with Cooley’s Anemia — a rare genetic disorder that requires her to receive blood transfusions every three weeks, but on Sunday she was given the opportunity of a lifetime.
After the Lady Huskies season opening win over Ohio State, Daniela was seated at the post game press conference table with legendary UConn Huskies head coach Gino Auriemma. He used the press conference to announce that Daniela would be signing a National Letter of Intent to become an honorary member of the Huskies.
According to ncaa.com, during the press conference Auriemma sited Daniela's strength and perseverance, two qualities that make her a perfect fit for UConn women’s basketball.
Daniela was able to join the UConn basketball team through an organization called Team Impact, it's a nonprofit that matches children with serious and chronic illness with a college team. So far, as an official member of the Lady Huskies, Daniela has been able to attend practices, games, team dinners and other events.
UConn Huskies senior Katie Lou Samuelson told ncaa.com that the team is very excited to have Daniela on the squad:
We’re so grateful to be a part of this. We’ve only hung out a few times with her and she’s had such an impact on all of us, just seeing how she is every day and seeing how positive she is really makes you think about how grateful you are for things in your life. I hope every team on campus ends up doing this because what I’ve seen from videos and stuff it’s a really amazing process to be a part of.