Disability, Determination and Strength: Starlight Goes to Citi Field

Greer SallickSeptember 13, 2018The Body in BalanceFeatures
Disability, Determination and Strength: Starlight Goes to Citi Field

Anyone who has been to a major league baseball game knows the sounds of fans, the smell of hotdogs, and the heat of a summer night.

This night was like that, but it had one more thing that made it very special. Hundreds of children of all ages were congregated there… Not just any children, but children of the strongest and most determined mindset. These children had spent their entire lives struggling with sicknesses. Cancer, asthma, severe scoliosis, to name a few. Although their situations may have been grim, the vibe was not. The vibe was that of a class that just finished exams with A’s in their hardest subjects, happy and accomplished. They were here because the Starlight Children’s Foundation brought them together at Citi Field in New York City to broaden awareness for the hardships that these children face and to bring them together, like a great big happy family.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation is an organization that provides mental and emotional support for children that have medical issues. They hold events across the nation where these children come to play games and make friends. For eight years now, one such event has been held at the Mets’s Citi Field in New York. This year hundreds of kids suffering from asthma, cancer and many other diseases gathered to watch the Mets play the Detroit Tigers on a warm June evening.

One of the attendees was lucky enough to hand the Mets starting lineup to the Umpires right before the ball game began. Jamal Jervier, who is 18, suffers from asthma and severe scoliosis. He has been through quite a lot in his life including several surgeries to improve his condition. During one of these surgeries he died on the table but doctors were able to bring him back to life. Now he is a friendly, energetic and driven individual. When I asked Jamal what was the hardest part about living with two debilitating diseases he told me it was the teasing he received when he was younger and still a little today. “When I was younger I used to be teased a lot and I never liked it. I was crying.” Jamal says, “But now I started getting over it.” Jamal’s mother says he is the most loving, caring and energetic boy she knows. Whenever she comes home Jamal greets her with, “Hey mommy! You’re home!”

Jamal is a perfect example of how the Starlight Children’s Foundation helps kids all over the world. Jamal felt as if he was alone and could not fit in, but Starlight showed him that, in fact, he was not alone and he made himself at home in a new community with new friends.

Starlight Children’s Foundation is a massive, worldwide organization that helps millions of seriously ill children — 275,000 in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. For over 25 years this number has been growing and it continues to grow. Starlight not only hosts events, but also provides in-hospital entertainment and distraction during long and painful operations. You can help by donating via the Starlight website.