Seventeen-year-old Janelle knows firsthand how difficult battling a life-threatening medical condition can be. Diagnosed with leukemia at age thirteen, she gradually lost her curly brown hair and had to undergo a hip replacement.
As she struggled through numerous treatments and tests, she was motivated by watching her favorite baseball player: Josh Reddick. A former Boston Red Sox player, Reddick now plays for the Oakland A’s. His dedicated fan followed him on television and dreamed of meeting him in person. But that was not her only dream.
Being an avid baseball fan, Janelle wanted to be close to the action on the field like baseball managers. Yet in Major League Baseball, there are currently no female managers. Janelle’s dream was to change that and become the first female Major League Baseball manager. She imagined the exact uniform she would wear and what she would do in her new position. For over a year, this dream inspired and motivated her. When she found out that Make-A-Wish® New Hampshire was going to make that wish a reality, she was beyond excited!
After receiving a stem cell transplant, Janelle’s leukemia went into remission. She was ready to fulfill her dream as an honorary Oakland A’s manager. With family by her side, Janelle flew to San Francisco, CA, in July 2013, and had a behind-the-scenes experience with the Oakland A’s team. She watched the players go through batting practice, attended a meet-and-greet, and took pictures with her favorite player, Josh Reddick. Every moment was thrilling for Janelle.
On the night of the big game between the Oakland A’s and the Boston Red Sox, Janelle was more excited than nervous. She proudly wore her Oakland A’s jersey and hat along with a white skirt, green leggings, and sneakers. With the Oakland A’s manager by her side, Janelle delivered the roster list to the umpire in front of a cheering crowd. She was informed by the players that it is tradition to tell a joke when delivering the card; not wanting to break tradition, she did just that! Janelle sat with her family in VIP seats to watch the game and yelled encouragingly to Reddick and his teammates. It was an experience of a lifetime for this dedicated baseball fan.
The day after the big game, Janelle and her family toured many sites in California. Make-A-Wish New Hampshire scheduled a special tour for Janelle at the Chabot Space and Science Center where she chatted one-on-one with an astronomer. They visited other popular tourist spots including the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf. As the family flew home after their adventure, Janelle smiled every time she thought about her wish. Her year-long dream had finally come true, and is a memory she will have forever!