Written by: Amanda Keuler on May 7, 2013 @ 9:54 am
Baseball is in full swing now (pun mildly intended) and you can hear the echoes of umpires hollering “Play ball!” in every southern town – the sure sign that summer is just around the corner. The ball field has long been a part of American childhoods. I don’t have to think too hard to recall a time when I swung a plastic bat with all my might and slid into ball caps in lieu of bases.
Isn’t it every young kid’s dream to act out the movie The Sandlot? And every summer, my friends and I got to do just that.
But it isn’t so easy for some kids. Kids like Justin Norris. When Justin was only two years old, he was diagnosed with a rare tumor on his brain stem. After aggressive treatments on such a sensitive area of the brain, Justin was alive but relied on a machine to breathe.
He still went to every one of his older brother’s baseball games. His parents, Jeff and Tina, could see how desperately Justin wanted to join the other kids on the field.
Justin passed away on Dec. 8, 2009. Two years later, Justin’s Miracle Field opened and other kids like Justin finally had their chance to play ball.
Jeff and Tina brought the Miracle League to Camden County, Ga. so that any and every kid that wanted to play baseball got their chance at the plate, a chance their beloved Justin wanted more than anything.
The Miracle League of Camden County is part of a national organization that got its roots not far away in Rockdale County, Ga. The mission of the Miracle League is to grant children and adults with disabilities their greatest wish – to play baseball.
With specialized fields like Justin’s Miracle Field, players that have unique needs, such as using a wheelchair for mobility, still get the victorious feeling of going around the bases and coming home to high-fives from their smiling teammates.
Kyleem is one of these victorious all-stars. He worked for months with his therapist and family in the hopes that he would be able to run the bases. His determined spirit shined through one night under the lights at Justin’s Field and brought a smiling tear to every fan’s eyes.
GA Gives is proud to feature the Miracle League of Camden County as May’s nonprofit of the month. Their story, mission and goals are incredibly awe-inspiring. I even got choked up writing this blog because what they do is so simple yet life-changing for their players. The smiles and joy this organization brings to the field each game is just about the most beautiful sight I have seen.
Our hats are off to you, Miracle League! Play ball!
Currently, Justin’s Miracle Field is in need of funds to build a structure over the bleachers to shade players and their families and friends. Georgia’s hot, unforgiving sun has made this a huge necessity for the field. The Miracle League of Camden County is working to raise $19,000 for construction. You can help them reach their goal by donating to their GA Gives profile.
Additionally, Justin’s Miracle Field is seeking sponsors for their upcoming Annual Camden County Softball Challenge to be held on June 1. If you are interested in sponsoring this wondeful community event, please call Jeff at (912) 322-1970.Nonprofit of the Month