BY VICTOR PORCELLI
CONEY ISLAND — An 11-year-old boy battling a serious blood disorder had the opportunity to throw the first pitch at the Brooklyn Cyclones’ baseball game on Aug. 26.
The boy, Jay, was diagnosed with B-thalassemia at the age of three. In August of last year, he underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat it and has been at the Ronald McDonald House New York since November.
The Ronald McDonald House provides temporary housing for children with cancer or other serious illnesses and their families, along with additional support and care. The organization was able to work with the Cyclones to have Jay named ‘Cyclone of the Day’ during the game last Monday. In addition to throwing the first pitch, Jay got to meet players, announce an inning and received a signed jersey with his name on it.
“Jay is a remarkable, strong boy and we’re grateful to the Brooklyn Cyclones for working with us to provide such a fantastic experience that he will always remember,” President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House New York Ruth Browne said.
Jay was accompanied by his mom and sister at the game. In a video, Jay can be seen giving a fist-bump to smiling Cyclone players in the dugout.
“As an organization, we are constantly reminding ourselves that we can’t control what happens on the field in terms of wins or losses, but we can control the fan experience and the smiles that our guests have when they enter and leave our ballpark,” Cyclones General Manager Kevin Mahoney said. “That’s why working with the Ronald McDonald House and having Jay and his family here was such a special treat for us. We love when we can give people — especially kids like Jay — a break from their everyday life and allow them to sit back, smile and enjoy a night at the ballpark.”
The Ronald McDonald House is located on East 73rd Street in Manhattan. In addition to housing, it provides wellness programs, tutors and many different types of programming. From art or music activities to holiday or birthday celebrations, the programming is designed to give families happy moments separate from the struggles they face while fighting sickness.
“It’s so important for our children and their families to experience a sense of normalcy while fighting [an illness], and experiences like the Cyclones game allow these children to be kids first,” Browne said.