Since I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (“juvenile diabetes) last October, I have been using my website and social media to raise money and awareness for this life-long autoimmune disease that kills the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. I was helped by the wonderful nurses and doctors at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, who helped me understand this new disease and how I can take care of it. Ever since, I’ve been going to frequent classes and doctor’s appointments at the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex (“WNDCC”).
The WNDCC hosts an annual player visit, where the players come and hang out with the kids. Last week, relief pitchers Sammy Solis and Blake Treinen came to meet about two dozen of the WNDCC patients, as well as some kids from the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. One of the activities was making healthy, carb-friendly snacks. Even though Type 1 diabetes is NOT caused by unhealthy eating or poor exercise habits, people with Type 1 diabetes need to monitor the amount of carbs they eat because they need to take an injection of insulin to help the body “digest” it since their own bodies can no longer make insulin.
The first event was an interview panel inside Seacrest Studio, which is a TV/radio studio inside the hospital. It broadcasts throughout the hospital so kids can tune in from their rooms. I was one of the kids chosen to ask the players questions. I asked Blake Treinen about how he reacted when he learned he was in a Jeopardy! question during the offseason.
He told me that he did not know he was going to be mentioned. He was “stunned” that he was mentioned on the show because the rest of the people in the category were Hall of Famers. He said his grandparents were at home watching the show and “literally fell off their rockers” when his name was mentioned.
Another kid on the panel asked Blake and Sammy what their favorite ballparks were, other than Nationals Park. Blake said that he liked Petco Park in San Diego. After the Q&A, I told him that Petco was my favorite too. Sammy said that he went to college in San Diego, and for the rest of the day, I was “Mr. San Diego” to the two of them.
After the interview, the players and patients left the studio and went back to the WNDCC rooms. First, I helped make snacks, like a skewer with meat, cheese, and vegetables, a lemon hummus, and “pizza popcorn.” It’s funny– I don’t really like pizza or popcorn, but I did like the pizza-flavored popcorn that I made. Sammy helped us make the popcorn.
We then moved on to Blake’s station, which was in the WNDCC exercise room. There were a bunch of different stretches, machines, and ways to keep yourself healthy in the mini-gym. I liked the machines we were able to use, like the elliptical and the exercise bike. Blake was pitching in a Wii baseball showdown with the patients present at the event. I did fine against him, getting 2 “hits” off errors. It was a really fun day.
After the activities, the nurses and doctors working the event led us outside, where we met Blake and Sammy sitting at a table. Topps, the sports card company, was there, and they made custom baseball cards for the patients and attendees. Sammy and Blake asked us to sign a card for them, they signed a card for us, and then we got a stack of custom cards. Also, the favors included a brand new Nats hat, and a pack of real Topps baseball cards.
It made me feel good that the players take time out of a game day to help kids at the hospital. I like seeing players give back to the community, and this is what happened on Wednesday.
I can’t wait until the next time this will take place. Wednesday was such a fun day!