10-year-old Thomas Hastings has muscular dystrophy, a crippling disease that affects his muscles and results in weakened mobility.
For those affected by this disease, getting around can become extremely painful and problematic, and with time many people require the use of a motorized wheelchair. There is unfortunately no cure for this condition, but modern advancements have enabled those who have the disease to live relatively normal lives.
Although Hastings had been going about his life trying not to let his condition get in the way of his happiness, slowly it began to creep up on him. However, there was one thing that Hastings always looked to for comfort: baseball, particularly if it involved the Boston Red Sox.
“We’ve been a Red Sox family from day one,” Thomas’s father, Brad Hastings explained, according to Make-A-Wish Connecticut.
Thomas learned all about the sport from a young age while watching his beloved team play, and he became instantly hooked. He quickly made up his mind that he wanted to play the sport as well.
“Anything to do with baseball just takes him to an escape,” said Mary, Thomas’s mother. “Something that he can just forget about everything else that’s going on, because he understands the game of baseball.”
In addition to muscular dystrophy, Thomas also has scoliosis, and by the time he turned 10 he already had undergone 14 back surgeries. With his condition deteriorating, Thomas soon was no longer able to participate in his town’s little league team, something that was a harsh blow to his morale.
But a shining glimmer of hope came along around this time—the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which offered to grant him any wish he so desired.
“We had some doctors that … said, you know, you might wanna do this. So we felt this was the right time,” Brad shared. “We just sat down with Thomas and said, ‘Hey Thomas, this is your chance. Whatever you can think of, whatever you can imagine, you can ask for.’”
As soon as Thomas heard the news, he knew exactly what he wanted to wish for. He wished for a baseball field of his own that he could use to play with his friends. A daunting task at first glance, Make A Wish worked with 40 local vendors from Thomas’ town to make his wish come true.
After a 34-day work period, the field, which was built to be a miniature version of Boston’s Fenway Park, was unveiled. Named, “Fenway Fantasy,” the field was said to even be wheelchair accessible.
“Everything happened almost like magic,” Brad explained. “It’s really insane.”
Thomas was ecstatic with the finished product. Christening the field with his very own game, he grinned from ear-to-ear with happiness. Seeing his son smiling during such a rough time was quite an emotional moment for Brad.
“[Thomas’s] disease is progressive,” Brad said. “He’s doing less and less. He gets so trapped in this world of dark days and tough days, but this was an experience where we saw people that were just giving of themselves. Make-A-Wish brought that together.”
“And it was a gift for Thomas that also helped us as an entire family to remember that there are amazing people out there, caring people out there all over the place.”