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Shriners Healthcare for Children — Florida patient acts as honorary batboy at Tampa Bay Rays game

Shriners Healthcare for Children — Florida patient acts as honorary batboy at Tampa Bay Rays game

While the Tampa Bay Rays prepared to take the field against the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 21, "Shriners Kid" and patient ambassador, Bryce, was doing the same thing. As the honorary batboy for that evening’s game, he had the responsibility of delivering the game ball and rosin bag to the pitcher’s mound, a role he willingly accepted, being such an avid fan of the sport.

“Baseball is my favorite thing,” Bryce said. “I really get, just really excited. I just love it!”

Thanks to the care he has received at Shriners Healthcare for Children — Florida, Bryce did not have to watch from the sidelines. Instead, the bright-eyed 9-year-old put his wheelchair to the test, rounding the baseball diamond as quickly as he could. This is a sight that doesn’t get old for Bryce’s father, Jesse, who recalls all of the baseball trophies his son has acquired in the past four years of playing on the Pirates team for the Miracle League of Manasota.

Bryce has been a patient at Shriners Healthcare for Children — Florida since he was 2 years old. Born with club feet and spina bifida, Bryce is paralyzed from the waist down. Bryce remains active, thanks to our facility’s pediatric prosthetic and orthotic services and seating departments.

“The care at [Shriners Healthcare for Children] is like nothing else imaginable,” Jesse said. “From the time you walk in, you’re at ease [knowing] your child, can be a child – an independent one.”

Bryce brought along two helpers on game day; younger brothers, Carter, 6, and Cayden, 2. They were thrilled to be out on the field alongside him, sharing the honorary “bat kids” spotlight. The media team from the Tampa Bay Rays even included Carter and Cayden’s names up on the big screen.

“It is amazing how tight they are, the three of them together,” Jesse said. “Without even realizing what they are doing, [Carter and Cayden] are always there to help Bryce, and each other.”

Jesse is proud of what a great big brother Bryce is to the boys, and the young man he is becoming. He speaks often as to how he has learned so much from his oldest son, and how inspiring he is to him.

“Bryce is one amazing kid, and he has changed my life in many, many ways,” Jesse said. “I’m thankful that he had this opportunity. He loves baseball, so this was absolutely awesome.”

Bryce playing baseballBryce at a game

More about Bryce:

If you think Bryce looks familiar, it might be because his smile and spirit captured the hearts of many when he stood for the first time at the age of five back in July 2015. Several media outlets stopped by our facility to capture the moment his father said “would have never been possible without Shriners.” In case you missed it, read the news story to get caught up on another memorable day for this "Shriners Kid."

To learn more about Bryce's baseball team, visit The Miracle League of Manasota's website now.