Nick LeGrande, a 13-year-old baseball fan battling an extremely rare blood disorder, will live out his big-league dreams by throwing out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game – without leaving his hometown of Kansas City.
Surrounded by his family, friends, Little League teammates and
Children's Mercy Hospital doctors and staff, Nick will deliver a
pitch at Kansas City's Google Fiber Space that triggers a
telerobotic arm halfway across the country to throw the ceremonial
first pitch at Wednesday's Oakland A's-New York Yankees game.
"Nick has a Superman complex. I say that because I don't know
many adults who could go through what he has this year," says his
father, Mike LeGrande. "His doctors at Children's Mercy are
supportive through every aspect of his care, of course, but a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this might be the best
The youngest member of a family whose baseball roots trace back
to Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville, Nick's own baseball career was
put on hold when he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare
disease that damages the bone marrow and blood stem cells. Nick,
who his father describes as always being a "little nuclear reactor"
of energy, now requires weekly infusions to counter the inability
of his stem cells to generate mature blood cells.
"Nick has been through so much since his diagnosis in January,"
said Jaszianne Tolbert, MD, pediatric hematologist at Children's
Mercy, "But he has such an amazing spirit and attitude about the
whole thing. This experience couldn't happen to a more deserving
young man and a bigger baseball fan."
Not far from the hospital, Nick will take the mound at the
Google Fiber Space's custom-built infield, complete with real dirt
and real grass, and his historic pitch will be seen on the big
screen at O.co Coliseum. Nearly 40,000 fans will cheer on the feat
before the A's take on the Yankees, one of Nick's favorite teams along with his hometown Kansas
"After the Fourth of July, we're having another bone marrow test
to look for improvement," Mike said, "and we're hoping for a home
run. But we'd be so thankful for a base hit."
The family hopes Nick's story will inspire others to consider
donating blood or bone marrow, knowing that every donor could help
save the life of someone they love - or have never met.
read Nick's story, learn how to help and see behind-the-scenes
videos. Everyone is encouraged to cheer for Nick and show their
support on Twitter by using the #NicksFirstPitch hashtag leading up
to and throughout the first pitch. Many of these messages will be
retweeted through @ChildrensMercy or shown at O.co Coliseum and the
Google Fiber Space.
About Children's Mercy Hospitals and
Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, located in Kansas City,
Mo., is one of the nation's top pediatric medical centers. The
354-bed hospital provides care for children from birth through the
age of 21, and has been ranked by U.S. News & World
Report as one of "America's Best Children's Hospitals." For
the third time in a row, Children's Mercy has achieved Magnet
nursing designation, awarded to fewer than seven percent of all
hospitals nationally, for excellence in quality care. Its faculty
of 600 pediatricians and researchers across more than 40
subspecialties are actively involved in clinical care, pediatric
research, and educating the next generation of pediatric
subspecialists. For more information about Children's Mercy and its
research, visit childrensmercy.org or download our mobile
phone app CMH4YOU for all phone types. For breaking
news and videos, follow us on Twitter, YouTube and