Emily Sorensen is a bright-eyed, curly-haired 6-year-old girl who is missing her front teeth. She also just signed a letter of intent with the BYU women’s softball team.
Sorensen has Cystic Fibrosis, a life-shortening genetic disease that causes reoccurring lung infections and limits the ability to breathe. In an effort to improve her quality of life, Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit organization, paired Sorensen with the BYU women’s softball team.
“I think it is one of the best things ever for her,” said her father Michael Sorensen.
He explained that Emily has many treatments, often twice a day, which can be difficult for her.
“There have been a couple times where she’s like, ‘Can we just text my girls?'” Michael said.
Members of the softball team always text back with words of encouragement, giving Emily something to look forward to, her father explained.
“It’s an external support. It really helps to give her that extra (boost) when she needs it, and it helps her to feel important,” Michael Sorensen said.
According to BYU Student-Athlete Welfare Coordinator Paul Tidwell, Emily started associating with the softball team earlier this year. At least twice a month the team does something with Emily, either on or off the field.
“I just like to hang out (with the players),” Emily said.
Emily explained that she has practiced with the team, gone bowling and even had a pool party.
“I liked to splash them with water guns,” Emily said.
Bay-lee Power, the engagement and corporation partnership manager for team IMPACT, said it is often difficult for children who have cystic fibrosis, like Emily, to be around children other than their siblings. That is why teaming up these kids with a support system is so important.
Michael said his daughter was excited for this night, when she would be signing a letter of intent with BYU.
“She’s just been telling everyone constantly for the last month,” he said.
During the signing, BYU pitcher Arianna Paulson spoke about the impact Emily has made on the lives of her and her teammates.
After signing the letter of intent, the softball team presented Emily with a stuffed cougar, which she clung to for the rest of the night.
During the softball game, Emily donned a BYU visor, just like the players, and cheered them on with blue and white pom-poms.
The signing ceremony took place on Sept. 28 before an exhibition game against Snow College.