ACC Baseball Blog for Thursday, May 22
May 22, 2008
by Heather Hirschman
Probably one of the greatest things about student-athletes in the Atlantic Coast Conference is the extra efforts they make off the playing field. That was evident on Thursday morning, when players participating in the 2008 ACC Baseball Championship made time to visit some young fans at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville.
Today's visit is part of an outreach effort by the league's baseball teams. Representatives of Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest visited part of the hospital Thursday, and players from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and NC State will visit tomorrow. The schedule allows players to visit the hospital on their "off" day. What makes today's visit even more impressive is that fact that half of the players were at the ballpark until after 1:30 this morning.
There were a lot of special moments throughout the visit, with young faces beaming at the sight of visitors and thrilled over the gift of a t-shirt or autographed poster. But one encounter proved to be especially meaningful.
Wake Forest's Allan Dykstra - all six feet, five inches of him - strapped on hospital garb from head to toe - complete with a protective smock, mask and shoe covers to visit Garrett. Garrett is no more than 10 years old, forced to live in a sterile environment. He is in the midst of chemotherapy and facing a bone marrow transplant.
There were no cameras and no reporters, just a college baseball player spending a few priceless moments cheering a young baseball fan.
Moments later, Dykstra emerged to shed the layer that shielded Garrett from our everyday germs - something his family must do many times a day, every day. While a nurse told Dykstra the story of what lies ahead for Garrett, another boy shyly looked on. Dykstra shared with him, just as he had with Garrett. It was Tanner... Garrett's twin brother and bone marrow donor.