Courtesy of Trinity Sports Information
HARTFORD, Conn. - On April 4th, an exciting new addition was made to the Trinity softball team through the Team IMPACT program when 12-year old Aliana Fichera who was diagnosed with Common Variable Immunodeficiency when she was an infant, was welcomed to the team. A team-signing event was held where Aliana sat at a press conference table and signed a “letter of intent,” drafting her onto the Bantams’ roster. Several other teams on campus have worked with the Team IMPACT program before, which assigns a child with an impairing disability or disease to a team on campus, and the softball team is eager to get started.
According to juniors Michelle Treglia and Katie Haghdan, the signing event was very exciting for both the team and Aliana and her family. “When Aliana walked in, we all gave her a standing ovation, and you could tell from the look on her face she was so happy to be there with all of us,” said Treglia. “Coach was joking with her when she signed the papers, saying things like ‘Are you sure you don’t want to look over the contract?’ The whole atmosphere was great.”
Aliana’s parents and her younger sister were present, and according to the team, it was obvious that the family is very grateful that she has support from such a big and enthusiastic group of people. The team gave both Aliana and her sister their own uniforms, and their mother expressed to the team a few days later that she could barely get the girls to take them off.
Prior to the signing, the team had not yet met Aliana, but she has since opened up to the team quickly. “She loves to FaceTime,” Haghdan mentioned as she talked about what sort of contact the team will have with Aliana. “We’ve FaceTimed with her a few times since draft day, and she and her family came to our games this past weekend, and the one on Tuesday. She was a little hesitant at first, but throughout the day she warmed up to us and eventually came down to our dugout. She even ran with some of our players between innings” Haghdan added. Aliana and her family are looking forward to attending many of the team’s home games over the next few weeks.
The team is also planning to visit her in the hospital on days when she has to sit for hours while receiving infusions. The players are hoping to do what they can to help her through her tough times by making her feel like a part of the team as much as possible. They’re hoping to build a relationship with her that will stretch into future seasons as well. The team also believes that Aliana’s presence will have a positive impact on their current season. “Just to have her on the bench brings positivity to our team,” Haghda stated. “Our team is full of big personalities, and Aliana is definitely a fun character as well, so it seems like a perfect match,” Treglia added.