7 a.m., Aug. 15)
Baseball diamond's opening proof miracles really can happen
By Fred Sherwin
dream of building a baseball facility for children with
special needs became a reality on Friday with the official
opening of the Miracle League of Ottawa baseball diamond
Desrochers gets a little help from his dad
Rollie as he takes the plate during the official
opening of the Miracle League of Ottawa baseball
diamond on Friday. Photo supplied
no one could be happier than the children who got to hit
the ball and round the bases for the first time, led by
Bryce Desrochers who provided the original inspiration
behind the project.
was born with cerebral palsy which confines him to a wheelchair.
His physical condition did little to abate his love of
baseball, fueled by his passion for his beloved Blue Jays.
When Bryce was in Grade 6, his parents, Rollie and Michelle,
learned about the Miracle League which has over 250 chapters
in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Australia.
the time, the only Miracle League facility in Canada was
located in Amherstberg. Buoyed by little more than an
11-year-olds dream, the Desrochers approached the
Rotary Club of Orléans and the Ottawa Champions
Baseball Club. Both organizations eagerly got behind the
project which immediately picked up steam.
Coun. Bob Monette was one of the first local politicians
to support the project. He was joined by Ottawa Mayor
Jim Watson, fellow councillor Mathieu Fleury, Ottawa-Orléans
MPP Marie-France Lalonde and Ottawa-Orléans MP
Royal Galipeau and .
and local community support soon followed from Progressive
Waste Solutions, Friends of the Mer Bleue and Pathway
Hyundai, to name just a few of the projects financial
support was also provided by the City of Ottawa, the Jays
Care Foundation, and the Rotary Club.
$1 million was raised in less than two years, which is
a miracle in itself. But for the project to go from concept
to reality in just three years is the real miracle.
to Miracle League of Ottawa president David Gourlay, there
are more than 4,000 children in Ottawa with physical disabilities.
Having a place to play baseball is a godsend to both the
kids and their parents.
Fridays opening ceremony, Rolly Desrochers could
hardly hold back his pride in seeing his sons dream
come to fruition.
you said if you say your dreams out loud, they can come
true, Rolly said. Here you have it son. We
the official ribbon cutting ceremony Bryce got to hit
the first pitch assisted by his father and cheered on
by former Blue Jay Duane Ward.
be the first one to hit that ball, it just felt really
good. It feels really awesome, Bryce said after
rounding the bases in his motorized wheelchair.
by the sheer delight expressed by the kids who took part
in Fridays grand opening, the Miracle League field
will provide special moments and memories a hundred times
over and all because of the dream of one small boy and
the parents who were determined to make it happen.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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