Jace’s Fenway Park Dreams Come True In This Week’s Make-A-Wish Story
Here at MickeyBlog HQ, we absolutely love the moving and inspiring Make-A-Wish stories that Disney has been sharing each week and today’s is no exception!
This week we take a look at Jace Andrew’s life-changing Make-A-Wish experience. Jace is now 19 years old but his wish was granted back in 2014 when he was just twelve. He had the unique opportunity to become a Boston Red Sox player for the day which culminated in an opportunity to meet his idol Dustin Pedroia. Some 7 years later, Jace’s memories of being able to hit a ball over Fenway Park’s Green Monster continue to bring a smile to his face!
In the video below Jace talks about his experience and even had the opportunity to reunite virtually with ESPN reporter Chris Connelly who met Jace back in 2014 when the teen appeared on SportsCenter.
Jace’s wish was granted when he was just 12 years old at which point he had already gone through three surgeries for a congenital heart condition. As a matter of fact, his first operation took place just days after he was born. According to Disney, Jace looks back on his childhood as a roller coaster of a ride with ups and downs.” Because of his heart condition, Jace wasn’t able to play contact sports. But, when Jace went on family vacation to Baltimore and saw a match between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox it proved to be a HUGE moment of inspiration.
“I sat on the first base line, and as soon as the Red Sox took the field in the bottom of the first inning to play defense, there was a little second baseman standing on the field named Dustin Pedroia,” Jace recounts. “And at the time I was not the biggest; I was a very small kid. I was not that tall, I was pretty skinny, and I kind of connected [with him] because Dustin was the smallest on the field. So I said, ‘Hey, if he can do it, I can do anything I want to as well.’”
When, through Make-A-Wish Jace had an opportunity to pick his wish he knew that he wanted to meet Pedroia. ESPN chronicled Jace’s unforgettable visit to Fenway Park. It started with Jace getting his own locker for the day at the Red Sox Clubhouse. He then got to consult with the manager regarding the batting order for the game before taking batting practice alongside his hero. Pedroia’s coaching helped Jace to hit his own ball over the Green Monster! Jace recalls, “It probably took a good 15 to 20 minutes to get that one over, and it’s something that you never forget..” He continues, “I remember the joy, the happiness—every emotion from that day is locked into that moment.”
Jace said that the impression the entire experience had on him can be seen to this day. “After that wish I became a new person.,” Jace says with a laugh. “I knew from that day forward that whatever I wanted to do, that’s what I was going to work towards. And I knew from that moment that sports was where I wanted to be in some way, shape or form.”
Fast-forward to 2021 where Jace is NOW a freshman at Oklahoma State University and is studying sports media. He has hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster one day. “I get to be part of the game like nobody else does, and I get to bring the story to everybody else—which is what I feel like baseball is, it’s a story,” he says.
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