By Matt Montgomery
The Oklahoma City Mudcats, a youth baseball team with three players living in Piedmont, were joined last Wednesday at their little league game in Oklahoma City, by several kids suffering from life-threatening illnesses: the Cavett Kids.
Cavett Kids Foundation, based in Oklahoma City, is a non-profit organization that brings together children with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses and takes them to different events and camps to interact with other kids their age.
Cavett Kids Foundation art therapist and director of Diversionary Play, Ashley Simpson, attended the game last Wednesday with the Cavett Kids and said Ty, Carly and Brasen had a great time interacting with the youth baseball team.
“For several of them, it was the first time they had ever been to a baseball game,” Simpson said. “Some of them were able to play sports before they got sick and some are hoping that if their health gets good enough, they want to try to play again. It sparked a lot of those feelings in them.”
The Mudcats reached out to the Cavett Kids Foundation to raise awareness for kids who couldn’t play sports.
“A lot of our kids at our camps finally feel normal,” Simpson said. “But at school and at activities like that, they don’t feel normal because they may not be able play baseball or it’s harder for them to get around at school, so it was a nice pairing that kids were realizing and accepting them, even though they were different.”
Simpson said Cavett Kids Foundation implements the Three C’s: Character, Coping Skills and Connection.
“They feel more connected with kids their own age,” she said. “They may not be able to play the sport on their own, but it finally connected them and made them feel like they were a part of something.”
Some of the illnesses Cavett Kids face include kidney failure, transplants, cancer, leukemia, spina bifida and cerebral palsy.
Cavett Kids Foundation was officially established in 1997 to help kids who are battling chronic and terminal illnesses.
Other events Cavett Kids Foundation have immersed their kids in includes the Angel Fire Heart Camp in Angel Fire, N.M. This camp was specifically for kids with congenital heart disease and heart transplants.
In Angel Fire, the Cavett Kids took part in horseback riding, white water rafting and hung out in cabins. Angel Fire is the highest elevation in America that a heart patient is permitted to go. It sits at 8,406 feet.
“That challenges them to face their fears,” Simpson said. “A lot of them aren’t really dealing with altitude here in Oklahoma, so it gives them the chance to experience something they most likely wouldn’t have.”
The Pelcher family, who live in Piedmont, were instrumental in starting the Angel Fire Heart Camp.