11-year-old Girl with Leukemia Gets Memorable Experience at RailRiders Game

MOOSIC, Pa. -- An 11-year-old girl diagnosed with leukemia made a very special memory at a RailRiders game.

Adelaide Kanton from West Pittston was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago. She's part of a program called Casey Cares, which teamed up with another organization called Umps Care to arrange a meet-and-greet and tour with the umpires before Saturday night's Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game.

"It makes me feel really special because not a lot of kids get to experience this," Adelaide said.

"It's absolutely the little things. A blue sky and a baseball field puts a lot of things into perspective," said Meredith Rynkiewicz, Adelaide's mom.

For a kid who spends more time in and out of hospitals than any 11 year old should, this experience was just what the doctor ordered.

"It's little moments like watching Adelaide put on her umpire gear and getting a big grin across her face that make really challenging years and moments seem small, and it gives you a lot of hope as a mom and a family that there are really good times ahead. There've been good times behind us, and we'll have plenty more in the future," said Rynkiewicz.

Adelaide used to play softball before she got sick, so being able to step out on the field again made the whole experience that much sweeter.

"It feels really, really good because I used to play it all the time and it's amazing," Adelaide said.

It wasn't just Adelaide and her family who walked away feeling special. The men who call balls and strikes did, too.

"It means a lot because I feel like umpires get kind of a bad rap, a bad stigma, so we're nice guys, too. I know we're always getting booed, but at least we made an impact on her life and she can tell her friends and her family that hey, umpires are good guys too," said umpire Matt Winter.

"They're really nice. You know when you see them on TV you're like ugh, if your team that you like, you're upset that they kicked them out, but in real life they're just trying to make the game go smooth and they're really nice," Adelaide said.

Adelaide and her family feel grateful for the support from Casey Cares over the years. She never imagined getting an opportunity like this. And now, she just can't wait to tell her friends about it when she starts sixth grade in a few weeks.

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