Tuesday was a dream come true for one very special Sioux Falls teen. Lexi Valentine, 14, who is battling some serious health conditions, was officially drafted and signed to the Augustana College women's volleyball team as part of Team IMPACT.
It marked the beginning of a really unique relationship.
Pen to paper made it official. Lexi Valentine is an Augustana Viking.
The Sioux Falls Christian student is battling an autoimmune disorder among others which keep her from living a normal life.
"With her health conditions, she doesn't have a chance to be part of team sports or develop relationships. This will be an amazing opportunity to develop relationships with big sisters," Lexi's dad Verle Valentine said.
Those 'big sisters', the women of Augie volleyball, are thrilled to have her as part of the team. It's all thanks to Team IMPACT which is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the quality of life for young people like Lexi.
"She'll add a lot to our team. We'll remember our time with Lexi. It'll be a great opportunity and thank you to Team IMPACT and Augie for letting us do this," Team representative Bailey Koch said.
"It feels good to see her be part of a team. Both her mother and I were athletes who got to be involved in team sports. To see her as an only child with health issues is fun to watch her interact with her teammates," Verle said.
Through this program, Lexi will be a part of the women's volleyball team as much as possible attending local practices and games.
Established in 2011, Team IMPACT has already matched over 900 children with collegiate teams at over 400 institutions and 45 states, improving the quality of life of hundreds of courageous children and touching the lives of more than 25,000 student-athletes.