One of Hailey Dawson’s dreams is to throw out the first pitch for every MLB team, and thanks to a post on social media her dream is much closer to becoming a reality.
The 7-year-old was born with a rare birth defect, Poland syndrome, which results in the underdevelopment of pectoral muscles. It also leaves the patient with webbed fingers, typically on their right side; however, Hailey was born with a palm and two fingers. But she doesn’t let it stop her.
A few years ago Hailey’s mother set out on a search for a new hand for her daughter.
After reading an article about a robotic alternative to a prosthetic, Hailey’s mother, Yong, contacted the engineering program at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Professors and students at UNLV were glad to help. They got to work on a 3D-printed robotic hand for Hailey.
Hailey spent a lot of time practicing holding and throwing a baseball.
According to SportTechie, Hailey would practice gripping the ball in her 3D-printed hand. In order to add some power behind throwing the ball she utilized a five-pound weight to start before progressing to a 30-pound weight.
In 2015, when Hailey received the hand, she was invited to throw out the first pitch at the school’s baseball game. The little girl was thrilled and loved every minute of it. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as her brother plays baseball, her father is a coach, and she has played T-ball. To say the family is a fan of baseball would be an understatement.
After she threw out the first pitch for the UNLV Rebels, she mentioned how she wanted to throw out the first pitch for a Baltimore Orioles game. The Orioles are her family’s favorite team.
Yong mentioned in a 2015 interview that she was unsure how to bring her daughter’s dream to the Orioles’ attention, but decided that sending a letter would be best.
In August 2015, Hailey threw her first MLB opening pitch.
Almost two years later Hailey got to throw out another first pitch, this time for the Washington Nationals. And from the looks of it, it probably won’t be another two years until she throws out another ceremonial pitch.
In the beginning of September 2017, Bleacher Report shared a video of Hailey on their Twitter. They mentioned the 7-year-old wanted to throw out some first pitches and they were inundated with responses from MLB teams and college teams.
Bleacher Report shared a tweet, which will help Hailey achieve her goals.
Nearly every MLB team responded to Bleacher Report’s tweet and offered to arrange a time for Hailey to throw out the first pitch.
Yong hopes that in addition to Hailey potentially breaking the world record for the most ceremonial first pitches, Hailey will raise awareness for Poland Syndrome and show people that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish great things.