Although 11-year-old Ryan Parrish is still in the early years of his baseball playing, this season will probably be the last his father gets to watch him.
Gary Parrish from Prattville, Alabama, who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, attended each one of his son’s games last year but isn’t able to do so anymore.
After doctors gave up on treating him when his body stopped responding to medication, Parrish’s health is in rapid decline. And this started to have a negative impact on his relationship with Ryan.
After noticing his parents’ constant absence from the games as well as a sudden decline in Ryan’s enthusiasm for baseball, Ryan’s Prattville Dixie Youth Baseball Team USA Coach, Caison Whatley, decided to step in.
“When [Ryan] first got out here, he didn’t have a whole lot of focus and I found out why,” coach Caison Whatley told WSFA News.
“He’s got a whole lot more on his mind than we could ever have,” he added.
The good-hearted coach thus made the effort to go to the city and request the recreational baseball season be pushed up by a week so that the child’s father could also be a part of the game.
“We want to give Ryan something to cherish for the rest of his life and this may be it,” said Whatley.
Ryan wore a No. 21 T-shirt – the same number his father wore in his youth.
“[My dad] might not be here for all the other games and tonight’s very special because he gets to come,” the young boy stated.
Regardless of the results of the game, the 11-year-old walked away with everlasting memories and was thankful to his coach for giving his terminally ill father this irreplaceable opportunity.