April 25, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee softball team proudly welcomed 8-year-old Averi Ramsey as the newest member of the Lady Vol family on Thursday.
The team held a special "draft party" at the Sherri Parker Lee Stadium clubhouse, where it announced the "selection" of Averi , who is in the third and final phase of two and a half years of treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The coaches and players presented Averi with her own jersey and locker as they welcomed her as an official member of the team.
UT co-head coaches Ralph Weekly and Karen Weekly worked with Team IMPACT, an organization that matches young patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families with sports teams. Averi's parents Allen and Tiffany and her older brother Creed were in attendance on Thursday to celebrate the "draft."
"We are very excited to have Averi join our team," Tennessee co-head coach Karen Weekly said. "Her battle with leukemia has been remarkable and her bravery in the face of adversity is truly inspiring for all of us. We look forward to building a strong relationship with Averi and her family over the years. Averi is officially a member of the Lady Vol family and we are thrilled to have her."
Averi, who was named the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2013 Girl of the Year for Knoxville, toured her new home clubhouse, checked out her personalized locker and ate cake and played with the Lady Vols. Averi will be in attendance for this weekend's series against Arkansas.
The team is looking forward to building a great relationship with their newest member of the Tennessee family.
"It's amazing to see the joy in Averi's face and what we can do for her and also what she can do for us," freshman pitcher Erin Gabriel said. "She is such an inspiration to all of us."