For a lot of MLB fans, going to see your favorite team play in person for all 162 games is only a dream. A lot of factors prevent folks from fulfilling that dream like money, work and families. Regardless it’s still a desire that diehard baseball fans would love the opportunity to do.
Milwaukee Brewers fan Ben Rouse had that dream as well but then Leukemia got in the way.
Ironically Rouse became aware of the disease after attending an event called “Brewers On Deck” in April of 2007, an event that the Brewers held before opening day. Rouse was shagging home run balls in the right field loge bleachers when he cut his leg. He didn’t think anything of it at the time but in the days after it became infected and led to a fever of 105, which sent him to the doctor’s. There he was told that he had Promyelocytic Leukemia, which was the reason he was having such a difficult time healing from the injury.
Rouse was soon in the battle for his life and while most patients only need 45 days of Arsenic Trioxide treatments, Ben had more than 100 before going into remission and then proceeded to need 200 more. A year after these treatments, Rouse suffered a relapse and was in need of a bone-marrow transplant. However, they were unable to find him a match in the system of over 16 million registers so they had to opt for a double umbilical cord stem cell transplant in October of 2009. The transplant was successful and Rouse finally overcame the disease that halted his life for two years.
After he won his battle with Leukemia, Rouse turned his attention back to the game he loved and made it a goal to attend all 162 Brewers games this season. He’s now fulfilling the goal he came up with during his freshman year of high school after going to a Brewers game for the first time with his high school. Not only is he going to every single game, he’s also blogging about it and trying to raise awareness for the Be The Match foundation, which helps people register to become possible donors, and helps patients find suitable bone marrow donors.
Rouse initially saved about $15,000 to fund his dream but when the Brewers found out about his plan they helped out. They upgraded his 20-game plan to a full-season package and they have also provided tickets to the away games along with officially licensed apparel for him to wear to the games. All in all, Rouse will only have to spend $9,000 of his own money for the trip of a lifetime.
He’s now been to 94 games this season (the 94th game pictured above) and has plenty of memorable moments along the way. Rouse received a hug from Brewers star Ryan Braun after he hit a home run and even got to sit with Braun’s parents behind home plate at an away game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He said that game was the highlight of his journey so far because he was just ten feet away from super agent Scott Boras and the Brewers swept the Dodgers that night.
Although the Brewers are struggling this season, currently 44-51, Rouse it still glad he is making the journey and raising awareness along the way. If the Brewers are ever in your favorite team’s city, you’ll find Rouse wandering around the stadium and cherishing every moment of his dream.
H/T to CBS Philly