What the Royals’ World Series Run Means to Our Daughter With a Rare Disease

Dear 2015 Kansas City Royals,

October in Kansas City is blue this year. Again. So it seems only fitting to not only congratulate you for amazing achievements, but to thank you for what you’re doing for our family.

I’m a KC girl, born and raised. I don’t remember your World Series appearances in the 80’s, but I am certain my children won’t forget this one. For the last several weeks, my family has been mesmerized as you advanced. We’ve clapped, we’ve cheered and we’ve escaped into the wonderful world of “what-ifs,” if only for a few hours.

Six years ago, my daughter, Cambria, was born with a rare disease called panhypopituitarism, which comes with a host of complications like adrenal insufficiency, growth hormone deficiency, and in our daughter’s case, symptoms that even the world’s top doctors can’t diagnose. Her world right now consists of travel to the nation’s top hospitals, round after round of testing and daily maintenance of her medical needs. 

Early last season, we were in search of an escape, so we packed up our little family and headed for The K (or Kauffman Stadium for nonlocals). It was a perfect night at the ballpark. The weather was just right, the stadium was loud and the atmosphere was electric. Thrilled to attend her first baseball game, Cambria was wide-eyed and pumped up. Up until that night, Cambria was a loyal NFL fan, screaming at the television every Sunday. There wasn’t any room in her KC-born heart for any team but the Chiefs.

But that game changed things.

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Cambria fell in love with baseball that night, and I’m happy to say the affair is ongoing. She knows every player, their positions and can offer up opinions on why we’re winning or losing a game. Her commentary is always entertaining. Baseball is not only a welcome distraction in our home right now, but it’s an excuse to enjoy extra family nights when we need them.

Like every other family, we have highs and lows in our house. We struggle through rough patches, we have a lot of “away” games and, sometimes, we even pull out a win in the ninth. Lately, the lows have been more frequent as we struggle to find a diagnosis and treatment for symptoms plaguing our daughter.

We learned long ago our family is at our strongest when we work as a team. Everyone has their place on the roster, and our bullpen sees heavy rotation. We make our share of errors, but we’ve seen our share of saves, too.

Since Cambria’s diagnosis and subsequent complications, we’ve changed up our roster. We’ve brought in new talent, changed our strategies and had a few wins on the road. We’ve grown closer as a family and have learned to celebrate every stolen base and every sacrifice fly.

I’d be lying if I said I could remember who you played that night last May or if the Royals even won. All I can remember is that for a few hours, we weren’t a team battling a chronic illness; we were just a family at the ballpark, enjoying a game. Your team made that possible.

If you ask my daughter why she loves the Royals, she’s quick with a response. “They play hard and have handsome uniforms. They are my favorite baseball team because they never give up and are nice even when they don’t win.”

So from one team to another, thanks for bringing a little joy to our home. Thank you for giving us a reason to gather as a family and celebrate not just the wins, but the joy and love that shines through in the play of the game.

Good luck and godspeed. We’ll be watching.

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