For as long as Kaleb can remember, the Arizona Diamondbacks were his favorite baseball team.
He watched all the games, went to a few in person, and even collected the team players’ baseball cards. In fact, as a catcher, pitcher and first baseman for his club team, he works hard with the hope that someday, it will be him on Chase Field, making big plays happen.
Kaleb’s journey to Make-A-Wish began at Phoenix Children’s Heart Center, where Kaleb had been a regular since birth.
“Kaleb was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart,” said Jenny, Kaleb’s mom. “Kaleb has gone through so much in his childhood that you feel sometimes helpless but when a nurse suggested he was eligible for a wish, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to refer him.”
The family was overjoyed when Make-A-Wish Arizona called to get started on Kaleb’s wish journey. And Kaleb knew exactly what he would wish to do.
“I love the Diamondbacks and love to play baseball.” said Kaleb, “I knew I would wish to be a part of the Arizona Diamondbacks team!”
Kaleb was especially look forward to meeting one of the Diamondbacks star players.
“Paul Goldschmidt is my favorite baseball player,” he said. “I thought getting to be a Diamondback myself and playing along side him would be awesome.”
Kaleb’s wish day was a surprise until a limo stopped in front of his house.
“It was my first time ever riding in a limo,” he said. “My whole family came with me too.”
He was shocked and excited when he realized Make-A-Wish Arizona could make his wish to be a baseball player happen well before he graduated… even before he finished 5th grade.
When they arrived at Chase Field, Kaleb and his family enjoyed time in the pool inside the stadium, with the entire stadium to themselves.
Soon, a member of the Diamondbacks staff took Kaleb and his family to the locker room. When he walked in, he was directed to his own locker, complete with a customized jersey, three personalized bats, and batting gloves.
After Kaleb changed into his cool new gear, he headed up to the field for his first MLB batting practice.
“I was up at batting practice and, while at practice, I met Paul Goldschmidt,” said Kaleb “I played catch with him and it was too cool!”
Kaleb met other players and spent time hitting pitches and talking stats with his heroes. Plus, he was encouraged to warm up his arm because he was asked to throw out the first pitch as the designated bat boy for the game.
“Sports are Kaleb’s thing and I’m so thankful that it is still an available outlet for him because when he was born, the doctors said that would be one thing he could never do,” said Jenny. “Thankfully he is so driven to beat the odds and this wish was exactly what he needed to continue to aim for his big dream of playing in the big leagues.”
It was a special day Kaleb looks back on blissfully.
“I loved every minute of it and sometimes I can’t believe that it actually happened.”