UNCW women's basketball welcomes 6-year-old with open arms

Updated: Sep. 28, 2017 at 10:07 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The UNCW women's basketball team welcomed its newest member Wednesday afternoon at Trask Coliseum.

It wasn't a top recruit, but 6-year-old Violet Schwab of Wilmington, who became an honorary teammate to the Seahawks.

In February, Schwab was diagnosed with an optic nerve glioma, a type of non-cancerous brain tumor.

"It's beyond words," Violet's mom, Kim Schwab, said. "It means so much to us. Violet has had a pretty rough year, so having access to folks on a team like this is something that we never imagined possible."

Violet and the Seahawks came together through the Friends of Jaclyn, a foundation that pairs children battling brain tumors with local teams, clubs, and community groups.

"It's definitely rewarding when you can give back," UNCW women's basketball coach Karen Barefoot said. "You can inspire them as much as they inspire you. This is my third time doing this, and it just touches my heart that we can help out. I want Violet to feel so inspired so that she can climb that mountain and get to the top."

Violet and her family travel to Chapel Hill for chemotherapy treatments, and she knows she isn't doing this along. She has an entire team backing her.

"It gives Violet a sense of security, I think," Kim Schwab said. "That she has teammates, or sisters, that she can lean on. She's an only child so having a group of older girls that are potential role models for her means a lot."

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