If you were lucky enough, as a kid, to experience a “run the bases” day at a professional ballpark (or if you have children, and have been fortunate enough for them to experience a “run the bases” day at a professional ballpark!), you know what a thrill this can be. After all, if it is one thing to watch a baseball game on television, it is certainly another thing entirely to get to sit in the stands on a warm day while eating ballpark food and spending time around friends and family, taking in a game…and if this seems like a great afternoon, just imagine being a kid and having the opportunity to head out onto the field after the game (the same field your favorite Major League Baseball players were just playing on!), and being able to run around the bases. Yes, for young children who are baseball fans, happening to be at the ballpark on one of those rare days during the season when kids are allowed onto the field after the game to run the bases is a memory that lasts for years. For seven-year-old Devon Reed, however, the experience of running the bases at the Philadelphia Phillies ballpark meant even that much more!
When Devon was 15 months old, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. As a result of her cerebral palsy, she has to go through physical, occupational, and speech therapy. While she has to go through a lot more on a daily basis than most children her age, however, there is one respect in which she is exactly like every other kid her age: she loves to run around and play. In fact, there is also one respect in which she is exactly like most other kids her age who live in the Philadelphia area: she is a huge Philadelphia Phillies. Her dad even joked that Devon could spell the word “Phillies” before she could spell any other word. So when Devon was at a recent Phillies baseball game and had the opportunity to run the bases, it meant the world to her. And to those watching from the stands, it meant the world as well.
As Devon rounded the bases, the crowd in the stands took notice. The roar of the crowd swelled, as if they were cheering on the hometown team itself. Devon’s momentum carried her around the bases, and she crossed home plate as the roar of the crowd reached its crescendo. As her dad said: crossing the plate, for Devon, was a dream come true. He pointed out that every day can be a struggle for Devon, and they never know what any new day will have in store for them, or for her. but they continue to take things one day at a time, and Devon continues to smile, thrive, and enjoy life every step of the way.