Written by Brett Bedard, Vs. Cancer Campaign Manager
Ki Spicer appears to be a normal 7-year-old boy, but there is so much more to him than meets the eye. Ki has been battling brain tumors for three years now — tumors that should be causing him to have seizures. But with his treatments, diet and attitude, he has been able to avoid those complications.
During this fight, Ki’s found a passion that will last a lifetime. Earlier this year, he traveled to Florida with his mom Beth for treatment. It was Spring Training for MLB teams, and both the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals happened to be staying in the same area as the Spicers.
Ki didn’t care about baseball at the time, and he didn’t know much about professional teams; however, that would quickly change.
When a child is undergoing cancer treatments, finding opportunities to just be a kid can make a huge difference. Beth approached a few members of the Cardinals and told them about Ki’s battle. The family was invited to attend as many games as they wanted, and the next thing they knew, Ki was playing catch and hitting balls every day at the hotel with some of the umpires. Members of the Nationals even joined in.
From there, Ki’s love for baseball grew. He continued practicing and working to become a great baseball player, and this summer he asked his mom if he could attend a baseball camp. She found one at The University of North Carolina at Asheville and reached out.
That’s when Vs. Cancer came into the picture. So that Ki could attend the camp, the UNC Asheville Bulldogs worked with us to use a portion of the money raised during their Vs. Cancer game to fund a scholarship for him.
At camp, Ki’s swing and hustle impressed the coaches. A coach from the Greenville Drive, a Minor League affiliate for the Boston Red Sox, told Beth that Ki “has God-given talent when it comes to swinging the bat and throwing the ball” – not bad for a 7 year old!
But it was Ki’s fun-loving demeanor and love for the game that really caught everyone’s eye. “It was great to have Ki out at Greenwood Field for a week. He was very enthusiastic and his energy permeated through the camp,” said Bulldogs Assistant Coach Jonathan Johnston. “I think he might hold the camp record for number of times down the slip-n-slide!” Undoubtedly, Ki attending baseball camp was a refreshing and enjoyable experience for both parties.
After seeing UNC Asheville and Vs. Cancer give Ki the opportunity to attend camp, others have followed and the baseball doors continue to open for him. All the while, Ki continues his fight with cancer.
Beth is so happy Ki has found a passion during these hard times, something that lets him feel like a normal kid. She says that Ki’s favorite part of the camp was being around the guys and just playing ball.
“Baseball has given Ki motivation to be a teenager and to keep on with his treatments and diet,” she says. When asked if she had any advice for other families, she added: “Find something that provides life balance and motivation. Find something that is bigger than the cancer.”
Ki continues to be an inspiration to everyone, and at Vs. Cancer this is what we strive for: Providing opportunities for children who are battling cancer that they otherwise might not have.