Each year, Mayo Clinic's In the Loop blog looks back and shares some favorite stories of the year gone by. Here is the third of 17 stories from 2017. Be sure to check back each week for the next story.
Helping Pediatric Patients Round Third, Head for Home in Fight against Cancer
A group of pediatric cancer patients took the Minnesota Twin's Target Field and ran the bases thanks to the Twins and to Brighter Tomorrows, a nonprofit organization that helps families affected by childhood cancer.
Among them was Knox Olafson, a four-year-old from Warroad, Minnesota, and sentimental favorite, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Mayo Clinic. Young Knox is fighting osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer that materialized in one of his knees.
"It was amazing," Christy Olafson, Knox's mom, said of watching Knox walk the same paths as players with last names like Mauer, Sano, Buxton, and Dozier. "Before the game started, I asked him if he wanted me to push him in his wheelchair or if he wanted to use his walker, and he said he wanted to walk the bases himself," Christy says. "He made it all the way to third base before he got tired. Then he asked me to carry him across home plate."
And Christy said it was all made possible not only by Brighter Tomorrows and the Twins, but also by Knox's care team at Mayo Clinic. "When Knox was first diagnosed at Mayo Clinic, his surgeon asked if he could reach out to Brighter Tomorrows because Shanna Decker, the daughter of one of the founders, Sherrie Decker, also had a rotationplasty procedure at Mayo," Christy says. "Sherrie and Shanna both actually came and sat with us during Knox's first chemo treatment and talked us through everything they went through and everything that we should expect going forward."