Nine-year-old Edyn Grace Walterhouse became an official member of the Trojan swimming and diving team at the Donaghey Aquatic Center on Wednesday, with help from Team IMPACT.
Edyn was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called CAPOS syndrome. CAPOS is an early-childhood disorder that affects sight, hearing, and the movement of the arms and legs. Team IMPACT worked with the Walterhouse family and the Trojans to organize her spot on the team, helping to improve her quality of life both socially and psychologically.
“With Edyn’s disability, it’s easy for her to come on the pool deck,” Amy Burgess, head coach of the UA Little Rock swimming and diving team, said. “We’re hoping to get her in the pool a few times to help her with her swimming, got to get her some confidence in the water. The girls are really excited to cheer her on with her activities and struggles as well.”
Team IMPACT started in 2011, pairing college athletic teams with kids between the ages of 5 and 15 that have a lift-threatening or chronic illness. Each child gets their own Draft Day, where they sign their National Letter of Intent and are drafted onto the team’s roster, making them an official member of the team until they graduate high school.
“With Edyn today, she’s going to be a Trojan,” Burgess said. “She’s going to come to practices when she can, attend swim meets and really be apart of our daily lives. We’re going to make that a very important stance for us.”
When Edyn signed her name on National Letter of Intent, she officially became the 34th team member of the UA Little Rock 2017/2018 Swimming and Diving Team, making this the largest team in UA Little Rock history. To celebrate, the entire Walterhouse family received Trojan T-shirts along with a card signed by her fellow teammates.
“They’ve all been super welcoming,” Michelle Walterhouse, Edyn’s mother, said. “Coach Amy and Coach Jensen have been amazing with getting us paired with the team and just working out logistics to visit with the ladies.”
Edyn was adopted from Peru by Jonathan and Michelle Walterhouse. It was a three year long process in which the family had to overcome many hurdles to bring her to her new home, but with the help of friends and family creating fundraisers to help raise money for the adoption, Edyn was finally brought to America in December of 2013 and welcomed into the Walterhouse family.
Now, Edyn is being welcomed into the Trojan family. The girls of the team have already been treating her like she’s one of their own. Recently, Edyn was awarded a week long cruise by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and five of the girls came along to support her when she was awarded this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
“We are really excited about Edyn joining our team,” sophomore Jessie Baldwin said. “It’s really cool that we finally get to see her sign and she’s officially apart of our team now. We plan on doing as much with her as we can and just really get involved with her to help her have the best experience so we can make her feel like she’s actually apart of our team this year.”
Edyn is the second child to sign on to become a UA Little Rock Trojan through the Team IMPACT program. Back in 2015, then nine-year-old Hunter Linam signed onto the Trojan baseball team during his battle with Leukemia.
Edyn’s own battle with CAPOS syndrome continues, but her and her family will no longer be fighting it alone now that she’s been welcomed as a member of the Trojan family.
“She is an inspiration to everybody, day in and day out,” Burgess said. “We are all excited to welcome her to the team and we ask that she continues to always smile, have fun, inspire us all and show us that there’s more to life than just swimming, school and everything else.”