They both play for the Rays and share a love of baseball. There’s just a few slight differences between Ryan and Jeremiah.
Ryan Yarbrough is a 6-foot-5, 26-year-old pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Six-year-old Jeremiah stands about 4 feet tall and most recently played second base for the Tampa Bay Rays Little League team in St. Petersburg before being diagnosed with lymphoma in May.
When the major league player surprises the Little Leaguer in his room during a monthly Rays visit to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Jeremiah beams with excitement. Most sports stars and celebrities touring the hospital may say a quick hello during a patient visit and even drop off a gift or autograph, but Yarbrough takes extra time to talk with several kids in the cancer unit. He forms a special bond with Jeremiah as they toss around an oversized, squishy baseball and talk about their favorite sport.
Before leaving, Yarbrough autographs a trading card for Jeremiah, who shouts in amazement, “This is you?” Yarborough asks a colleague for one more trading card, but this time turns to Jeremiah and asks, “Can you sign this for me?”
For a moment, forgetting all those tubes attached to his little body, Jeremiah lights up, grabs a marker and says, “Sure!” With a big smile on his face, the 4-foot tall player scrawls his first autograph, a keepsake for the big-leaguer.
As the vaccine comes to the frontline workers, a world of possibilities begins to open up.
For Gavin, the hospital isn’t all about challenges and adversity. It’s about giving joy to others.
The holidays she has altered to care for kids are too many to count, but as she retires, she leaves much for patients and colleagues to be thankful.
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