BABSON PARK, Mass.—Babson College women's soccer players and coaches officially welcomed the Girolimetti family during a Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, Play Against Challenges Together) Draft Day on Friday inside the Webster Center. Both Ava and older sister Sofia Girolimetti signed contracts as women's soccer's newest members.
Women's soccer is one of four Babson programs currently partnering with Team IMPACT, as men's basketball, men's lacrosse and men's soccer are also members.
Team IMPACT is a northeast-based non-profit organization aiming to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. Team IMPACT strives to provide team-based support for children facing the hardships associated with adverse issues and events to significantly enhance their quality of life.
"When Carol Hacker from the Babson Alumni and Friends Network and Mary Welker from Team IMPACT both called me this summer to share about the Girolimetti family, I knew that our team would be all in," said Babson head coach Nellie Pineault M'03. "We are proud to welcome Ava, Sofia, Marc, and Allison to the Babson women's soccer program, and we are so thankful to be a part of their family. It's been evident throughout the last two months as Ava and Sofia, players, coaches, and parents have made connections on many levels. We share so much, between our passion for Babson, the game of soccer, and community through sport."
Ava is a 7-year-old from Concord, while big sister and best friend Sofia is 10. This past spring, Ava was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). ALL is a fast-growing cancer of the while blood cells (called lymphocytes) that crowd out the bone marrow, preventing it from making normal red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets that your body needs. Ava spent over a month in the hospital and completed the first section of her treatment. Earlier this month, she began the outpatient part of her treatment in which she will be regularly visiting the Dana-Farber Jimmy Fund Clinic to receive her chemo.
Ava and Sofia, who were joined by their parents and proud Babson alums Marc '96 and Allison '97 during their visit, signed their contracts before receiving their official Babson jerseys. They also interacted with the Babson coaching staff and players, hung out in the team's locker room, and kicked the ball around and played games on MacDowell Field. The next day, the sisters joined the team pregame for the on-field coin toss and starting lineups before cheering the Beavers to victory.
Marc was back on Babson's campus for his 20-year reunion, while Allison was a four-year player on the Beavers' women's tennis team in the mid-1990s.
In addition to the weekend's events, Team IMPACT Marketing and Communications Coordinator Erika Loomer worked with folks from PBS and NPR to be on campus for a segment that will run on the relationship between members of the Babson women's soccer program and the Girolimetti family. The segment is slated to run on Monday, September 26, at 7 p.m. on WGBH Channel 2. About a week later, the radio spot will air on WBUR's "All Things Considered". It will also likely run on PBS' Newshour on WGBH on Monday at 6 p.m.
"Ava and Sofia have brought so much spirit and enthusiasm to our team, and have even spoiled us with some homemade treats," said Pineault. "While Team IMPACT is focused on helping children in need, we are the ones who have gained so much seeing Ava's perseverance, Sofia's selflessness, and the Girolimetti family's strength. We are honored to be a part of this journey and look forward to many years of health and happiness together."