Baseball Canada News


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

SOURCE: Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy

On Sunday, July 20 the Blue Jays Baseball Academy will hold a very special three-hour Honda Super Clinic in Whitby, Ontario from 9:00 a.m.-noon. The clinic will take place at Iroquois Park in Whitby and the cost is $80 per participant, with all funds going to help 8-year-old Ben Sheppard. Instructors will be Blue Jays legends: Roberto Alomar, Sandy Alomar, Duane Ward, Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby, Tom Henke, Brian McRae, Carlos Delgado, and Alex Gonzalez. Each participant will receive a Blue Jays hat, T-shirt and Roberto Alomar Baseball glove.

Meet Ben

Ben Shepard is eight years old and loves everything baseball. His favourite team is the Toronto Blue Jays and his dream is to play on the big field one day; running the bases and catching balls like his heroes.

Ben was adopted at the age of 5 and lives with left hemiplegic spastic cerebral palsy. This condition causes a lot of tightness and spasticity in Ben's muscles, particularly on his left side. As a result, Ben experiences many challenges participating in daily activities that many of us take for granted; even something as simple as walking is a constant challenge for Ben.

As Ben gets older his ability to move is deteriorating. The tightness in Ben's muscles is preventing his bones from growly properly. This is very uncomfortable for Ben and often very painful. As a result Ben frequently falls and has been relying on his wheelchair to get around.

In order to improve Ben's quality of life, he needs a surgery called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). SDR is a relatively new surgery performed by the highly skilled, Dr. T.S. Park, most effectively at the St. Louis Children's Hospital. This surgery will release some of the tightness and spasticity in Ben's muscles which will allow him to move around more freely. What exactly does this mean for Ben? Well, Ben will be able to dress himself, get in and out of a bathtub, climb stairs, and most importantly for Ben - he will be able to run the bases at Rogers Centre.

The SDR surgery, followed by intense physical therapy, will give Ben a chance to play baseball! It is hard to convey urgency in writing, but the urgency is there. As Ben gets older, the functional impairments he currently experiences will become harder to reverse and the surgery will be less effective. Ben needs the surgery now! The Blue Jays are asking fans to help support Ben's journey by donating directly though his website, or attending the Super Clinic on Sunday, July 20 in Whitby.

To register or to donate, please click HERE.

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