CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Islanders softball team picked up an honorary member on Thursday afternoon. The team wanted to make the day special for 10-year-old Sophia Palacios, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor last summer. She will be helping the team the rest of the season.
Islander infielder Quinn De Avila is studying to be a pediatric nurse and has also dealt with cancer in her family. When she learned about Palacios' situation, she quickly wanted to help. Her teammates, along with the TAMU-CC Athletic Department, jumped on-board too.
The school went all out by holding a press conference to announce they were signing Palacios to an honorary contract. They wanted to make the day all about her, and Palacios was all smiles.
"I am so excited, there's just no way to explain it," said Palacios, who is a fifth grader at Dawson Elementary.
"It warms my heart to see her smile again," said Crystal Garza, Sophia's mom. "We have not seen her smile for a long time and this day brings her a lot of happiness to her and us as well. We are so grateful that the whole Islander team is behind her and I think it will push her because I can already see the difference in her face from this morning to now."
As for De Avila, all the hard work leading up to this event was well worth it.
"This day means the world to me and the program, " said De Avila. "I am just so happy to have her be part of our Islander family."
The softball team wants to include Palacios in as many activities as possible from attending games to team dinners.
Her condition has been improving every day according to her mom.
"Her treatments have been successful, all of her scans have been clear. Coming up in a couple of weeks she has her final chemotherapy treatment. We are praying she continues to make progress," she said.