TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — There was no shortage of motivation for the Washburn volleyball team Saturday night as they took on one of the top teams in the nation Nebraska Kearny.
That’s because they were reunited with one of their biggest fans.
For four year-old Madison Welsh, the Ichabods are her team.
“Her team you know, sends her messages through social media,” said Madison’s dad Mike. “She wants to send her team pictures and stuff. So, it’s really been neat to kind of see that connection evolve throughout the past year.”
They met through the Make-a-wish Foundation at the NCAA Division II tournament in Pittsburgh last year.
“When the girls met her the very first day, they instantly connected and we’ve kept in touch,” said Madison’s mom Lisa. “We’ve sent packages and letters back and forth.”
In 2018, Madison was diagnosed with pediatric multiple sclerosis and has been battling ever since.
“It’s a struggle, but we kind of just use everything that’s happened to us and just keep pushing forward,” said Lisa.
After developing such a strong bond with Madison and her family, the team raised money to fly them in from Pittsburgh for the weekend to give them the ultimate fan experience.
In addition to being recognized at the Washburn football game Saturday afternoon, Madison was able to hang out with the volleyball team before their game. She even got to take the court with them and was announced in the starting line up.
“We’ve always wanted to come back,” said Mike. “For them to kind of just throw their own fundraiser to be able to fundraise the funds to fly us out here, it just meant the world and it’s been nothing short of extraordinary since we’ve been here.”
While the team didn’t get the win, reuniting with madison was victory in itself.