As seen on the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.com
Six-year-old Sean Rakip of Leominster recently broke a bone in his left arm, but that sure won't prevent him from throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before today's Holy Cross baseball game at Fitton Field.Through Team IMPACT, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses by creating team-based support systems, Sean is "an official member" of the Crusaders this season. Sean, a first-grader, was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma in July 2009. He underwent his final chemotherapy treatment on July 3, 2011.
Holy Cross baseball team members met Sean for the first time this winter at a men's basketball game, and they've got to know him this spring at practices and games.
"It's fun to have him around," HC senior captain Matt Croglio said. "A lot of times we take things too seriously and having him around lightens the mood and shows you not to take anything for granted. The guys take an interest in him and he's always in the forefront of our daily thoughts. We're excited to have him here."
Before today's game against Marist, Sean will join the Crusaders in the locker room and be on the field with them for the national anthem before throwing out the first pitch. His cast, by the way, is purple.
Sean's mom, Christine Kidder, who will accompany Sean to the game, told HC coach Greg DiCenzo on Monday that Sean is ecstatic.
"It's going to be his day," DiCenzo said.
HC players volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass./Metrowest, so helping children in the community is certainly nothing new for this admirable group.
"It's something we definitely want to do," Croglio said. "It's something we're excited about doing."