Driving down the road with a burgeoning desire to toss out another first pitch at a ball game, a 7-year-old with a 3D-printed prosthetic hand asks her mom: “Which team is next?” Her brother does a quick Google search and cross-references Guinness World Records. No one has ever thrown out the first pitch for all 30 Major League Baseball teams. Let alone with a prosthetic hand.
But Hailey Dawson wants to change that.
Hailey’s dead set on reaching her rather lofty goal. And since it went public, nearly every MLB team has responded, including the Oakland A’s.
7-year-old Hailey Dawson wants to throw out the first pitch at every MLB ballpark with her 3-D printed hand pic.twitter.com/onStqhEzyB— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 7, 2017
Now she’s slated to make an appearance on the biggest stage in baseball.
“We are extremely excited to hear that Hailey will be representing the entire baseball family by throwing out the first pitch at the World Series,” said Catherine Aker, VP of Communications and Community Relations.
The game she’ll appear in has yet to be released, but come this fall Hailey will wind up in front of over roughly 40 million viewers.
“Our family is honored and humbled to have Hailey throw out a first pitch at the World Series,” said Hailey’s mom, Yong Dawson.
The A’s expressed sincere interest with brining Hailey out to the Coliseum and their communications staff is currently working with MLB officials to expedite the process. Though, so are a slew of other teams as the outpour of attention continues to grow. The A’s believe it’s possible to get Hailey out before the 2017 regular season ends.
Hailey was born with Poland Syndrome, a birth defect that limited her right hand to a palm, little pinky and thumb with only cartilage, no bone. She has no middle three fingers and is also missing the pectoral muscle on her right side.
But with the help of students from the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Hailey now sports a functional hand that operates on wrist movement. Moving her wrist down allows her to grasp objects and moving it up opens the hand – which lets her throw a baseball.
“Her favorite thing to do with her robotic hand is throw first pitches,” said Dawson. “It touches my heart every time I watch my daughter do something that makes her happy.”
So far, since throwing out the first pitch for UNLV in March 2015, Hailey’s pitching arm has been featured at both the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals’ stadium. And each time she visits the mound, it brings awareness to Poland Syndrome and the functionality of robotic hands. Families with similar conditions have since reached out and the Dawsons have been able to direct them where to go.
Hailey feeds on the energy from the crowd and loves the attention she’s received as a result. For her parents, though, it’s been tough and overwhelming. But the ecstatic fulfillment and emotional connection Hailey has is so uniquely special that the Dawsons will continue to support the movement. So far, of the remaining 28 teams, 26 have responded expressing interest with bringing Hailey out.
“She’s in her element when she’s out there and gains confidence each time she does it,” said Dawson. “And she loves getting autographs on her robotic hand.”
To follow Hailey’s story and tour, visit her Twitter account @Haileys_hand.