A 7-year-old girl from Nevada is trying to make Major League Baseball history.
Hailey Dawson was born with Poland syndrome, a rare disorder that can cause underdevelopment and deformation in hands. For Hailey, it means her right hand has only a fully formed thumb and pinky.
To compensate for her three “nubbin” fingers, she has a special 3D-printed robotic hand that engineering students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas designed. The hand gives the baseball-loving girl the ability to do things like grasp and throw a ball.
Hailey has a big goal for her robotic hand: She wants to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at all 30 MLB ballparks.
As she’s slowly worked toward that goal, Hailey’s story has made headlines over the years. In August 2015, she threw out the first pitch at Oriole Park in Baltimore, Maryland for an Orioles v. Athletics game. On June 11, 2017, she did the same at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. when the Washington Nationals played the Texas Rangers.
By throwing the ceremonial first pitches and sharing her inspiring story, Hailey hopes to raise awareness around Poland Syndrome.
On Thursday, Bleacher Report tweeted a video about Hailey’s inspiring journey and MLB dream.
The response was overwhelming, as the majority of MLB teams have responded to the tweet to invite Hailey to throw out the first pitch at their ballparks. Below is just a selection of the responses she got.
She’s even gotten offers from minor league and college baseball teams.
The amazing response from the baseball community is restoring people’s faith in humanity (or at least, in Twitter).
Hailey’s mom, Yong Dawson, told SportTechie that her daughter is a really special kid.
“She has no fear. When she waves, she waves with her little hand. When kids want to hold her hand, that’s the hand she pulls out,” Yong said. “She has no care about what other people think. When people ask her, she says, ‘This is what I was born with. You were born with blue eyes, I was born with his hand. This is me.’”
To keep up with Hailey’s baseball journey, follow her on Instagram at haileys_hand.