The University of Colorado volleyball team inducted its newest member Saturday afternoon — 8-year-old Chloe Wojnowski  , of Longmont.

As she demonstrated her athletic skills in a balloon volley with her fellow Buffs, the team said her “bright spirit” would be an encouragement throughout the sports season.

At a table inside the CU Events Center, Chloe sat between her new teammates and clutched a volleyball as part of her Draft Day. She then signed a “national letter of intent,” inducting her as a Buff. She was also given a jersey emblazoned with her last name and the No. 1.

Chloe was recruited to the Buffs as part of Team IMPACT, a Boston-based, national nonprofit that connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses with local athletics teams. Draft Days is sponsored by Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Chloe has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease,  that damages the lungs and digestive tissue. Part of Chloe’s daily regimen is taking medication to help her digest and undergoing breathing treatments and chest therapy to clear her lungs of mucus.

Chloe is the daughter of Joy and Lenard “Wojo” Wojnowski. Her younger siblings Logan, 3 and Haven, almost 1, accompanied her to the draft.

Joy Wojnowski, said that while Chloe has never watched a volleyball game, she expects her daughter to take an interest after Saturday’s events.

“I think she has been feeling left out or different, so I just feel like it’s a good thing to have her be part of something,” she said. “I just thought (the draft) was perfect timing as she’s starting school and realizing she has to do things differently from other kids.”

Evan Sanders, the team’s assistant coach, said the volleyball team had signed up to be matched with a child from Team IMPACT.

“We were more than happy to adopt her and make her part of our Buff family,” Sanders said. “She obviously has a very bright spirit, so I think she will have a very positive impact on our athletes.”

As a volleyball team member, Chloe will get her own locker and be invited to see games. An IMPACT Committee, comprised of seven volleyball team members, will also take her out on several outings, like going to movies and to get ice cream.

Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,800 children with more than 600 colleges and universities in 48 states, since its inception in 2011.

Head coach Jesse Mahoney also said he was glad to welcome Chloe to the team.

“It’s always awesome when we get to bring a new teammate onto our team. We are a big family and it’s great to have Chloe be part of our family,” Mahoney said.  “I think she is going to have a great experience. She will have 18 older sisters and they get to have a little sister.”

Kelsey Hammon

Chloe Wojnowski, 8, center, was recruited to the CU volleyball team Saturday at the CU Events Center. She joined the team through an initiative to connect children with serious or chronic illnesses to local sports teams.

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