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Softball Mourns the Passing of Team IMPACT Teammate Calypso

Aug 27, 2021

EUGENE, Ore. – Calypso Vander Velden, who signed with the Oregon softball team in December of 2020 through the Team IMPACT program, passed away last month following a courageous battle against spinal muscular atrophy. She was 10 years old.
The program's thoughts and prayers go out to Calypso's family.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vander Velden was unable to join her teammates at Jane Sanders Stadium for the 2021 season, but cheered them on from her home in Douglas County, Ore., and impacted them through regular interactions on Zoom meetings and other digital media.
"We were supposed to have an impact on Calypso, but she was the one who had a tremendous impact on us," said Oregon head coach Melyssa Lombardi. "The challenges she had to overcome every day really put things in perspective for us. She was a fighter and I will always remember the life lessons that she taught us as a team."
Pitcher Jordan Dail joined the Vander Velden family for the memorial service and presented them a softball inscribed with a personal message from Calypso's Oregon teammates.
To read more about Calypso's life, please visit:
Quotes about Calypso
Fifth-year pitcher Jordan Dail
"Calypso was our All-American. Every time we got the opportunity to meet up with her on zoom, even if it was only for a few minutes, it made our day. Her outlook on life, her goals and aspirations, and her constant strength and desire to make this world a better place for those around her was inspiring and admirable to all of us. We are beyond blessed and grateful to call her a teammate and will miss her and the light she brought to this team dearly."
Senior infielder Katelyn Howard
"Calypso impacted myself and this team in so many different ways. She was such a joy to talk to each and every week. Her courage and strength were such inspirations to us all. I will always remember her drawings and poems she would make to show us and read to us each week. Calypso will truly be missed but will forever be in our hearts"
Sophomore infielder Hanna Delgado
"Calypso's impact on the team and I was amazing. She taught me so many things about life in the short time I got to know her and it was a true blessing to be able to meet her."
Fifth-year pitcher Brooke Yanez
"Calypso meant so much to our team and she has motivated me to become a better player, teammate and person. She was a big light in our program and never failed to make us smile and laugh.  I cherish every moment we were able to spend with her."
2021 graduate Samaria Diaz
"Calypso was a very kind and sweet girl, we actually both loved Disney and Tinkerbell so much. She knew what she wanted and wasn't shy about it. She made everyone so happy and cared about everyone as she was a rainbow girl! She was filled with joy which rubbed off on us caring for one another. Her fight is something that I admired and as a player it made me better and inspired me to keep going even when things got rough. I love Calypso as a person, fairy, and teammate!"
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