10-year-old boy with rare disorder plays college baseball
BOCA RATON, Fla. (WSVN) -- A boy battling a life-threatening illness became the newest member of a South Florida baseball team, a dream come true for the 10-year-old.
According to Ari Cohen's mother, he was hooked on the sport the day he first hit the diamond alongside the Lynn University Knights. "They're part of his life now, and this is not just on the field, this is at home as well," said Leah Cohen.
Leah said her son was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal disorder when he was just a year old. "Statistically, per his disorder, trisomy 9 mosaicism, he shouldn't even be here," she said.
Most children afflicted with this illness don't make it past their first birthday, but Ari continues to beat the odds.
Team Impact, a program that enhances the lives of children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by matching them with college athletic teams, worked with Lynn University officials to surprise Ari. The Knights made him an official part of their team. "It's not about baseball; this is about life, this is about giving back, about love," said Rudy Garbalosa, the team's head coach.
Ari's mother added that something as simple as a baseball creates moments that will last a lifetime. "These memories are engraved in us forever," she said.
Ari doesn't say much, communicating mostly through sign language. "He knows that these guys don't know it, and so they kind of developed their own language, which is pretty awesome," said Leah.
"It's an escape for him because he has the freedom to do whatever he wants," said one of Ari's teammates. "This is his domain; when Ari is here, he can do whatever he wants."
Garbalosa said Ari's spirit carries the whole team, and that they are the real winners to be able to play with him. "If it was up to him, he could do it all," he said.
Lynn University is the first school in Florida to join forces with Team Impact.
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