A Grover Beach girl with diabetes cried tears of joy Saturday as she was named an honorary player on the Cal Poly women’s basketball team.
Natalia Xavier, 12, signed a letter of intent at a special Draft Day ceremony to play for the Mustangs.
Xavier, who has Type 1 Diabetes, struggles with her health constantly but said she now feels empowered.
“I feel like a fighter every day,” Xavier said. “I feel like a warrior.”
Madison Vick, a Cal Poly basketball player, said Xavier’s perserverance and strong will are two qualities necessary to play Division I basketball.
“She has to overcome an obstacle every single day and being a student athlete at a DI college definitely entails that,” Vick said. “You have to be able to time manage, work hard and handle a lot.”
Vick was matched with Xavier as a mentor through a national organization called Team Impact, which connects kids with serious illnesses with local college athletic teams.