11 year old Keira Richards became the latest player to put pen to paper and sign with the Lady Argos soccer program. The signing became possible when Keira's mom Rebecca reached out to one of the team's players, Eme McLaughlin, about her daughter's situation.
"It was a shock to have that diagnosis and as a parent when you get a diagnosis like that you don't know what to do," Rebecca said when she and her family found out about Keira's condition.
Rebecca told Eme her daughter was a part of an organization called "Team IMPACT" that creates opportunities for children with chronic diseases and life threatening situations.
"I told Brian (Clarke) 'we need to do this.' I've known Keira since she was a baby. She's an awesome kid and we need to take advantage of this awesome opportunity," McLaughlin said.
This wasn't the first time head coach Brian Clarke has heard of Keira. The 11 year old goes to as many games as she can and is on the bench cheering the Lady Argos on every step of the way.
"To bring some of that excitement and some of that energy, we definitely could use it, people feed off of it," Clarke said of Keira.
"She totally lifts up our attitude. You don't realize for how little of a girl she is how big of an impact she can have," McLaughlin added.
Keira will continue to have an impact on the Lady Argos. She said signing her letter of intent was a special feeling.
"It was nerve-racking and very exciting because that finally meant I was part of the team."
The team said watching Keira battle her condition gives them strength to perform, and to never take anything for granted.
"She can't do sleep-overs with friends because of her condition. She has to take over 40 pills just to digest food. It brings into perspective how blessed we truly are," Clarke said. "She's going to have a huge impact on our program (and everything) she's endured every day really brings things into perspective for our college athletes."