Up until a year ago, fourteen-year-old Johnathan was a Little League center fielder who aspired to be like his idol, Pittsburgh Pirates Center Fielder and National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. But in June 2013, his Little League baseball career was put on hold when he was diagnosed with leukemia and started treatments at Hershey Medical Center. After going a year without playing his favorite pastime, Johnathan's first day back on the field came when he was granted his wish to meet his favorite baseball star at PNC Park.
Johnathan felt like a MVP as he was escorted in a limo from the Sheraton Station Square Hotel to the Pirates' stadium on the morning of his wish day. He was brought to the Pirates' dugout, where McCutchen surprised him. The rest of the morning was spent having a one-on-one and playing a game of catch with the Cutch. The two even swapped jerseys. After hanging out on the field, Johnathan was brought to the Clubhouse where he met the rest of the team. His tour of PNC Park also included a stop at the Roots Sports TV booth.
At the Pirates game against the Philadelphia Phillies later that day, Johnathan made his first National League Baseball pitch with McCutchen as the catcher. He then watched the Pirates' victory from a suite stocked with all of his favorite snacks.
"I think it's amazing to see a child who has been through so much to get his wish," said Johnathan's dad.
For Johnathan, having his wish granted felt like a home run. Even though he still has more than two years of treatments to go, the priceless memories he made with his favorite player are sure to give him strength and make him smile as he faces the challenges that lie ahead.