When you were a baby Dad would wake up in the middle of the night and run down the street to the church and pray and pray and pray. All we wanted was hope but we could not find another child with similar circumstances to give us that hope.
When you were born you appeared to be a normal healthy baby, except you had a broken collarbone because at nine pounds three ounces you were a very large baby. After two days in the hospital, they took you to get an x-ray. That’s when you began having seizures and ultimately a stroke. A priest came and read you your last rites because he thought you might not make it.
For some reason, my intuition told me that you would be OK, not just in terms of surviving but also in regards to your future. However, your dad worked in the medical field and saw the struggles children who had strokes as infants often faced throughout their lives. He was scared for you. It was very rough for him.
Doctors told your dad and me that the left side of your brain was pretty much gone. They said you wouldn’t develop normally. You would have cognitive issues, memory problems, you would drag your right leg and have no use of your right arm. Sports didn’t even seem like a possibility as far as the professionals were concerned.
For some reason, my intuition told me that you would be OK, not just in terms of surviving but also in regards to your future.
When you came home I started massaging you daily. As you grew into a toddler we had physical therapists and occupational therapists come to the house to work with you. You seemingly attempted to follow in the footsteps of your big brother. Physically, you were developing quite well. You were not dragging your leg as the experts predicted.
In school, you did struggle at times. I was nervous kids would be mean to you. Your dad and I thought if you played sports it might help. So one day we gave you a ball and told you to go play.
Baseball was clearly in your blood. Your dad played in college and your uncle played in the minors. You took to sports so naturally. When you were four, your brother, who was six, started playing on a baseball team. We got you a uniform but you weren’t truly on the team. In one of the last games, the coach decided to put you in. You hit the ball farther than any other child. It was amazing.
From that point on your Dad committed to working with you. I am sure you remember all the times you walked home from the field because he was frustrated. He was tough on you but he was dedicated to developing you into not only a pitcher in baseball but a basketball player too.
You still do not have feeling on the right side of your body. If you drew a line down the center of your body everything to the right is numb to the touch. Still, you found a way to excel in both sports, even pitching a no-hitter at Marlington High School. You received a baseball scholarship from Tri-C, not too far from our home in Ohio, where you became an All-American.
I have never been the mom to take a lot of pictures or say a lot about my kids. I always just sit back and enjoy the games. With you, I have always had a quiet confidence, knowing you would do well. While your success never surprises me, this past spring there was a moment where I thought I was dreaming.
Your dad was at work where he was following the MLB draft. It was the 11th round and your name popped up on your dad’s phone. At work, he screamed, “Oh shit!” He then stepped aside to call me to tell me that you, Brock, just became a Brewer. Milwaukee drafted you with the 343rd pick. I was just like somebody needs to pinch me and wake me up.
All of our hard work as a family finally paid off.
Brock, I am so proud of you. You are a man of few words but I try my best to let you know how wonderful it is to be your mom and witness all that you have achieved. But this is just the beginning. You are playing for the Rocky Mountain Vibes, the rookie affiliate for the Brewers.
You are a role model. You are a miracle. Not even doctors can explain your success. I still keep in touch with one of your doctors who says he talks about you every single day, telling his patients and/or their families about your life.
Also, since you have been in the spotlight two families have reached out to you, as they too have children who had strokes as infants. You allow these families to see what is possible. Your story tells them that their children’s future has limitless possibilities. You never let any lingering effects of the stroke stop you. You never gave up. We never gave up. We just kept working and praying and that’s why you are living your dream. So, while your father and I never found the hope we were looking for from someone else, what’s so incredible is that now other people can find that hope in you.
I always believed in you.
I love you and you are going to do great!
About the sponsor and the charity:
Annette chose Mikey’s Way because it is childhood cancer awareness month. Mikey’s Way is a non-profit that provides electronics to children battling cancer. Uche Osadabe is donating $25 to Mikey’s Way in honor of the first 25 shares of Annette’s letter.
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Ruth, your letter moved me to tears. Once upon a time I was very closed off about the LGBT community but over a course of several years, I turned my fear into understanding and I actively stand with the community for their equal rights because it is the right thing to do.