11U - The Jaylon Fong Story - travelballselect.com

 
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Jaylon Fong of 11U Hard9
Attention - All youth baseball Players, Coaches and Parents

How often does one think about how special it is - just to walk on the field and play baseball with zest and vigor?  Consider Jaylon Fong’s story – believe me it will inspire you.

Jaylon is now age 11 and plays for the 11U Hard 9 Baseball Club in Anaheim, CA.  He wears jersey #20 and he pitches and plays several positions as needed to help his team.
 
But, not too long ago, walking on a baseball field to play the game he loved was a near impossible task.  In December of 2008, when Jaylon was just 8 years old, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (blood cancer).  He quickly began rigorous regimes of treatment. The side effects of chemo were painful and hindered him from performing physically at 100% in any activity.  For baseball, it affected his coordination, endurance, and his strength.

Yet, despite these debilitating impacts, this young athlete dug deep in every fiber of his being and came up with a big dose of courage.  He found a way to endure as he continued to play baseball – even while he was undergoing chemo, spinal taps, bone marrow aspirations, and wearing an implanted port-a-cath in his chest ( a device that is used for blood draw & administering chemo).  He endured with help of an unrelenting faith and with the help of a remarkably strong family - his parents and his brother, Aaron, who also plays on the 13u Hard 9.

Along the way, he met some new friends who became a special inspiration.  Among these was Los Angles Dodger, Matt Kemp (an All Star, candidate for National League MVP).  Matt visited him while he was in the hospital.  They formed a special bond.  Matt invited Jay to Dodger games.  Jaylon was also Matt’s guest during a recent “ThinkCure weekend” at Dodger Stadium where he helped bring awareness to the need for more research and to support others who face similar challenges.  Matt & Jaylon continue to stay in touch through twitter @TheRealMattKemp & @CourageandFaith.


Jaylon Pitching at AAU
Today, Jaylon has reached full remission.  He is pictured in the photo (right) as he was pitching in a recent AAU tournament.

Jaylon and his father (Francis Fong), along with his entire family continue to inspire others that are battling cancer.  He has spoken in front of numerous organizations and events.  His family is very active in spreading the word about the need of donations to childhood cancer research, the need of blood donations, and the need of bone marrow donors.  Jaylon has a personalized wristband that he uses for his fundraising efforts to support the goal of finding cures and comforts for those who face these challenges.

For more information and to order Jaylon's wristband please visit:
www.jaylonfong.blogspot.com

Truly, this young athlete is really special.  To appreciate just how strong his courage and his character really are, consider the words of his coach at Hard9, Donovan O’Neill Wong, as well as, the words of Charles Chatman, director of Hard 9 operations.


Donovan O’neill Wong  - Coach/Manager 11u Hard 9 Baseball Club


 “I first met Jaylon at a hitting clinic in December, 2010. He was clearly one of the youngest of the 10+ kids in attendance.  He stood out immediately; not because of his age or diminutive size, but because of the way he conducted himself. He was always the first kid in line, he always paid attention. And quite frankly, he was better than a lot of the older kids.

When I was cleaning up after the clinic, Jaylon approached me and asked if I’d wear a wristband to support him in his recovery from Leukemia. I was instantly floored. I could not believe that a little kid who was battling Leukemia could endure the workout that he had just finished. I could not believe that a little kid with Leukemia could have developed such an advanced set of baseball skills while enduring chemo and its painful side effects. To make a long story short, in one day, Jaylon impressed me more than any kid I’ve ever coached.

Since that day, I’ve come to expect nothing less from Jaylon, and often find myself sitting back wondering how he is able to do everything he does. He stands out amongst his peers in the face of tremendous adversity, without ceding an inch in the battle that he and his family are fighting off the field. When people learn his story, they are quick to offer their heartfelt praise. While Jaylon deserves every bit of the admiration and accolades he receives from the travel ball community, not enough praise is directed to his family and the incredible support system they have provided for him over the last 3 years. Jaylon’s uncommon work ethic, tremendous attitude, and unmatched effort on the diamond make him an exceptional youth baseball player, and more importantly, an ideal young man. The fact that he has been able to achieve this amount of success while battling cancer places him in another class entirely.

Playing the game of baseball is not a right, it is a privilege. Like a lot of the well-intended, inspirational sayings preached by coaches throughout the travel ball community, this fact is often dismissed as nothing more than another cliché. It is only when the ability to play the game is taken away from us that we truly understand how fortunate we were to play in the first place. It is really rare for an 11 year-old kid to understand how lucky they are to be able to play the sport. Jaylon understands. He is a living, breathing example of what it means to persevere through adversity… and we should all be paying attention to what he is teaching us by simply playing the game.

Charles Chatman, Hard 9 Baseball Club -Director of Baseball Operations

Successful baseball players are able to persevere through adversity and remain accountable for their actions, all while demonstrating a team-first attitude. The Hard 9 coaching staff and I place a great emphasis on the importance of these virtues by reinforcing this fact after every ballgame and every workout. I can think of no player whom I’ve coached that exemplifies these qualities more than Jaylon Fong. There are times throughout the course of a ballgame, just like there are times in our lives, where we are forced to face adversity. How a person rises to that challenge is test of their courage and strength. The courage, resolve and physical toughness Jaylon displays every weekend is truly something that we all should recognize and strive to emulate. I am honored to be a part of Jaylon’s journey.

As a parting note to Jaylon’s Story, here are 2 videos that are inspiring:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7vW20UQMkw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwCOExW8Yas

For more information, we invite you to visit:
www.jaylonfong.blogspot.com

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 November 2011 07:34
 

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