Kids enjoy FanFest day at Citi Field

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Mr. Met high fives a boy as he runs towards home.
Mr. Met high fives a boy as he runs towards home.
During Kids’ Day the children learned how to rake the field.
During Kids’ Day the children learned how to rake the field.
Citi Field grounds crew members cheer on the kids as they run the bases.
Citi Field grounds crew members cheer on the kids as they run the bases.

            Through a partnership between The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the New York Mets, more than 40 pediatric cancer patients were able to spend a special day at Citi Field working with the grounds crew and enjoying FanFest activities.

            The sixth annual Kids’ Day was held on Tuesday, August 3. The children were joined by their families and LLS staff.

            As the day began, the children worked with about 15 members of the Citi Field grounds crew. They learned how to rake the field, put in the bases and get the pitcher’s mound ready.

            Bill Deacon, head of the grounds crew, said his favorite part of the day is getting to see the kids come and enjoy themselves.

            “Everyone in our crew enjoys it just as much as the kids do,” Deacon said.

            The children also got to run the bases as the grounds crew and Mr. Met cheered them on. After a break for lunch, the kids participated in the ballpark’s FanFest activities.

Meagan Murray, an 11-year-old from Flushing, said it was fun to get to run the bases.  Meagan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in November of 2007. Mom Shari said that she came off of treatment in February and is doing “great” now.

            This was the second time that Meagan and Shari attended the event but was the first year they were joined by dad John and brothers Ryan and John.

            “It’s just amazing to see her having fun and laughing,” Shari said.

            Dad John said that the Kids’ Day was a great experience and was thankful for the “generosity of the Mets.” He also said that it was nice to know people do care and are willing to do something for others.

            LLS Patient Services Manager Meg Harrison said that the day gives the kids a chance to forget about what they’re going through and be a normal kid. She said the Mets do an “excellent job” of creating an atmosphere where no one feels like a patient.

            One of the benefits of Kids’ Day, Harrison said, is that it gives the children a chance to meet other kids with similar diagnoses so they don’t feel as alone. In addition, families that come back multiple years are able to see children feeling better and healthier from one year to the next.

            Harrison said she hopes the children left with a happy memory of the day and that the families were able to learn more about LLS and how the organization can provide support to them.

            “I’m just really grateful to the Mets and all the families that come,” she said.

            For more information on LLS, visit www.lls.org.