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'This team is life-changing': 6-year-old with leukemia becomes newest member of CU women's basketball team

Team IMPACT connects children with serious illnesses or disabilities to college athletics programs
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'This team is life-changing': Six year old girl with leukemia becomes newest member of CU Women's Basketball team
Posted at 9:44 PM, Feb 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 15:22:22-05

BOULDER, Colo. — The University of Colorado women's basketball team gathered Wednesday evening to welcome the newest member of their team — 6-year-old Bellamy Korn.

The team is having one of their best seasons in program history and hopes to make it to the Final Four for the very first time. Still, their new teammate is giving the players an entirely new perspective — both on and off the court.

Bellamy was diagnosed with leukemia in March 2023.

“It's been difficult. It's been really lonely. It's been really isolating," said Bellamy's mom, Sarah Bailey. "She's been kicking cancer's booty though. She's been doing a great job staying healthy, staying active, taking her meds and having a really positive attitude.”

TEAM Impact, a national nonprofit, works to connect children who have serious illnesses or disabilities with college athletic programs.

“I didn't know that they would take us on in the middle of their season. I thought they might say, 'Hey, let's wait until, you know, March Madness is over.' But this team is unstoppable, and they brought us right on board and haven't missed a beat," said Bailey. “They're building her confidence.”

Korn signed her letter of intent in front of her new teammates on Wednesday. She also received her own jersey.

“We're all behind her whenever she goes through hard things on her own," said CU guard Frida Formann. “You just get some perspective on life and what really matters. And what Bellamy is going through, I think it's just reminding us all what's important in life, and also just to be kind to everyone because you don't really know what people are going through... Bellamy's definitely someone that we all want to play hard for.”

Bailey described the journey with her daughter's cancer as horrible but said the Buffs' impact on their family is beyond words.

“It's a core memory for me for sure... This team is life-changing for us," Bailey said.

Bailey said the family wants to use the opportunity to advocate for more research into childhood cancer treatments.

“It's given us a really big purpose in life and a really big goal for advocating for childhood cancer funding. The funding is abysmal, the treatment options are horrible," said Bailey. “What a platform we have right now with the Buffs, especially a team that's this amazing in their journey.”

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