DENVER -- An 8-year-old girl from Nevada had the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the Rockies game Wednesday night. This isn’t a first for Hailey Dawson; Coors Field is her ninth stop on her major league ballpark tour.
Earlier in the afternoon, Dawson meet players like Chad Bettis, hung out with Dinger and showed off her special Rockies purple prosthetic right hand to the players in the field.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 31, 2018
It all started in 2015 when her mom, Yong Dawson, had an idea.
“My goal was to write a letter to all the teams because no one writes letters anymore, right? So that’s how we got the Orioles”.
That was just the beginning.
Dawson is now on task to pitch at all 30 major league ballparks, a big goal for this little girl who was born with Poland Syndrome.
“There was a lack of blood flow during the seventh to eighth week of gestation, so she is missing part of her muscle and that affected the growth of her hand. Some kids with Poland Syndrome have webbed fingers, they have short fingers; she was born without fingers.”
United Airlines connected with Dawson and her mom and now United flies them to all the ballparks. And during this visit to Denver, United Airlines opened its flight simulator in Stapleton to the little girl. She was paired in the cockpit with a pilot named Eric Gaffney who also has a physical challenge. Leave it to an 8-year-old to be blunt about it, Dawson said, “well, I have a special hand and he has a cut off arm.”
Gaffney views Hailey as an inspiration.
“To see a young girl, 8-years-old, doing what she’s doing, she is really inspirational to me and to anyone with a disability or without. To see a young girl doing this, doing her dream of throwing out the first pitch with the hand that she wears, it’s incredible. I am very proud of her.”
“If she wants to be a pilot with United, I’ll be her role model, I’ll be her mentor," Gaffney said.
For now, Dawson has other plans. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up she said, “I want to be a movie actress."