In the summer of 2012 Kayla was invited to participate in the Charleston RiverDogs' HOPE Week.
The RiverDogs is the local minor league baseball team - a Class A Affiliate of the NY Yankees. HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) is a Yankee organization week-long community program that all of their affiliates participate in.
Being a Boston Red Sox fan I had to totally look past the whole Yankee-connection in letting Kayla participate!
She was the guest of honor at the Lowcountry Children's Museum where several players came to hang out for a few hours.
During her time at the museum Kayla connected with (now former) pitcher Dan Mahoney. When she was done with an activity she wanted to make sure he was following her to the next exhibit! They spent a fair amount of time together at the museum and he was a good sport at going along with what she wanted to do.
Getting pitching tips from Dan before she threw out the first pitch for the game that night.
A couple of months later we were at another game for Military Night and the kids both got to throw out a 'first pitch' ball. During the game Kayla kept looking for Dan and saying, "That my friend! He's my buddy!" After the game he came out of the locker room to meet with us for several minutes.
Before long the season ended and Dan headed home for the off-season; and to prepare for his wedding a few months later. He kept in touch with us via Facebook and I was floored when I received a message from him and his soon-to-be-wife letting me know of their plans.
In lieu of giving out wedding favors for their guests they were going to be making a donation to an organization and asked for our input on organizations that we support. I can't even tell you how touched I was by that gesture.
They used this picture of Kayla and Dan (I have to admit I cringed, cringed, when the RiverDogs gave Kayla this HOPE Week shirt at the game. Cringed that I was putting clothing on my daughter with a Yankee logo! Ha!)
They had this letter explaining their reasons for not having wedding favors and what they were doing instead. (Ultimately the donation ended up going to Research Down Syndrome when Joe ran in the Disney Half Marathon).
Sometimes you meet someone ...and you don't know how you'll make an impact on them, or how they will make an impact on you.
Thank you Dan and Laura!