Honor bestowed on Pittsboro’s Houston by UNC volleyball, Team IMPACT

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CHAPEL HILL — What a day Saturday was for Kelsie Houston.

The 8-year old Pittsboro native was signed by North Carolina head volleyball coach Joe Sagula through Team Impact to the Tar Heel volleyball team.

“This is an exciting way to kick off the year,” Sagula said. “Kelsie will become our newest Tar Heel, part of our team, part of our program. Her family has taken a few unofficial and official visits over the summer. We’re really excited about her letter today.”

Sgular spoke about Houston like he would any new recruit, praising her intangibles above all.

“Kelsie can help our program get to the next level with the personality she brings every day,” he said. “She has a never give up attitude and has been through a lot and that’s what she inspires in all of our players. She’s a great teammate.”

Houston is one of 30,000 patients in the United States living courageously with cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease predominantly diagnosed in children at a young age. Houston was diagnosed at birth with CT, which a is a chronic, progressive, and incurable disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system.

Through Team IMPACT’s program at North Carolina, Houston will become an official member of the volleyball team. As a team member, she will attend Tar Heel practices, games, team dinners, events and more.

“We’re excited because she brings a breath of fresh air every day,” Sagula said. “I like that the fact that she comes with limited volleyball experience so her freshness is a great value to our team. She’ll be a role model for our team with her smile and positive attitude.”

Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming lifelong bonds and life-changing outcomes. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,800 children with more than 600 colleges and universities in 48 states, reaching over 55,000 participating student athletes.

Children such as Houston join the athletic teams and the student athletes join the child’s support team – from Draft Day to Graduation. During the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie, and support while the student athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective they can’t learn in a classroom.

Stay up to date with Houston and the Carolina Volleyball by following the Tar Heels on Twitter and Instagram.


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