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Knocking Cancer Out of the Park
As the sun begins to set in Greene County, Georgia, there is a little league baseball game playing on an April afternoon. It is the bottom of the first inning, the Mets are down 2-0 with runners on second and third. A young batter named Timothy McCannon comes up to the plate with a fierce look of determination to bring his team mates home.
As he stands in the batters box, you can hear the coaches and parents cheer him on by saying, "Come on Tim Tim." The first pitch was high and to the outside. The second pitch came in and there was a thunderous bang. The ball flew to left field. One run was in, the second run came in, and the throw went to second where there was a cloud of dust. When the dust settled, Tim Tim was safe. Now the score was 2-2. He stood up and dusted off his pants, then looked over to his parents and smiled.
But there is a story behind that smile of determination, inspiration, and a never quit attitude. In December 2009, little Timothy McCannon was diagnosed with b-lymphoblastic lymphoma at the young age of 8. Almost immediately the community flocked around him with their support. There were fundraisers, barbeques, and even a recreation department football game to help raise money and support for his medical costs. Even at one point his best friends at school shaved their heads to show support for their best bud.
I had the privilege to meet Timothy for the first time in March 2010, while substituting for his PE teacher. The one thing that caught my eye was that he was always smiling. In that class, we played dodge ball and I believe he was the most competitive player there.
Now Timothy plays baseball as both a short stop and a pitcher. He has the making of either a young Greg Maddux or Ozzie Guillen in those positions. His mother told me that he is always thinking about baseball. He has been selected to throw the first pitch at an Atlanta Braves game, where he met former Braves pitcher Tom Glavine. I asked Timothy who was his favorite baseball player and he simply stated, "Chipper Jones."
Timothy has 11 treatments left but one thing is for sure, he is going to always have a smile on his face. I have come to think that he doesn't know how not to smile. For me, he is an inspiration for all to see. He is one of the most positive kids I have ever met. And here in the near future I will be doing a personal interview with him and his parents. This is the beginning of my segment: Knocking Cancer Out of the Park.