Cheer team signs Team IMPACT athlete

Team IMPACT assigns new cheerleader to CBU as part of partnership.

The cheer team at California Baptist University signed 9-year-old Camila from Team IMPACT Jan. 18 in Innovator’s Auditorium.

With CBU’s partnership with Team IMPACT, Camila will be getting the opportunity to cheer at basketball games and watch practices and competitions.

Team IMPACT is a nonprofit organization that connects children with serious illnesses to local college athletic teams to form bonds that last a lifetime.

CBU has been a member of Team IMPACT since 2015 and previously signed a then 7-year-old boy with acute lymphoblastic leukemia named Davis Galluzzo with the men’s volleyball team Oct. 21, 2015.

In fall 2013, Camila’s parents noticed bruises on her body. After a visit with her pediatrician, Camila was sent to the emergency room because her blood levels were not right. After a bone marrow biopsy, the doctors discovered Camila had leukemia.

Four years later, after chemotherapy and several bone marrow transplants, Camila’s leukemia is in remission.

However, Camila has had many side effects from her treatments, such as tuberculosis in her abdomen causing pain and obstruction of her bowel movements.

She also developed cataracts in both of her eyes as well as arthritis. Her condition has affected both her growth and  social skills with children her age as a result of missing school for her treatments.

Tami Fleming, head coach of the cheer team, said the Lancers first heard about Team IMPACT when men’s volleyball drafted Galluzzo and expressed interest in this nonprofit organization.

“Our cheerleaders were there when they drafted (Galluzzo) and it was a cool experience to be a part of,” Fleming said. “We thought it was great  that there was a program like this available to connect these kids to our university.”

Fleming also said Camila actually chose to be a part of CBU cheer.

“As soon as we heard about (Camila) choosing us, we were excited to make her a part of the team,” Fleming said. “Being a part of the team is being drafted and Olivia (Miller, assistant coach of cheer) has done a great job of setting up this draft ceremony.”

Fleming also mentioned she feels excited to be drafting Camila to the Lancers.

“This is a great opportunity for us to make a difference in the life of this little girl,” Fleming said. “I’m also excited to teach her all about CBU, how the Lord makes a difference in our program and cheerleading. We also hopefully want to be a light to her when she struggles with some of the things she has gone through in her life.”

Fleming also mentioned some life lessons she can learn through drafting Camila.

“I’ve never had a little girl like her on any of my teams that I have ever coached,” Fleming said. “There are many things to learn, such as perseverance, fighting through tough times and staying positive.”

Fleming also said she thinks the team may have a heart for Camila through this draft.

“Our women are going to bring her in and make her one of us,” Fleming said. “I also think the women will be able to learn a lot from her and all that she’s been through.”

“I hope she knows she has 50 college cheerleaders that are behind her 100 percent if she goes through difficulties,” Fleming said.

Olivia Miller, assistant coach of the cheer team, said she is excited to be getting an opportunity to draft Camila.

“We’re going to learn as much from Camila as she will learn from us,” Miller said. “The women are super-excited about it and it’s a great opportunity to learn about something we may never have gotten to experience and to show love in other ways through our sport.”

The drafting ceremony consisted of Camila signing a national letter of intent, receiving a locker to herself, a cheer uniform, pom-poms and gear from the cheer team.

The Lancers cheerleaders are also going to have a chance to participate in a good cause through Team IMPACT and participate for a charity that shows love to Camila and many other children through college sports.

Cheer will also have the opportunity to show the love of God to a child that has suffered from illness.

About Jeff Kissel

Sports Editor

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