Michael Cadena made headlines last month when he was bullied for his rare genetic condition – but the incident actually resulted in one of the best days of the young man’s life.
The 27-year-old special needs man was featured in the news when he was shoved around and robbed of his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap while he was at a Target store in Riverside, California.
His mother wrote about the emotional ordeal on Facebook and it immediately spurred an outpouring of love and support. Fellow Dodgers fans were sending messages of encouragement and autographed merchandise to Cadena’s house.
As the story spread, it reached the ears of none other than the Los Angeles Dodgers themselves.
The LA baseball team not only gave Cadena free tickets to their game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, he was then invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch of the game.
According to NBC LA, Cadena has never thrown a baseball before in his life because his fingers are fused together, which makes it difficult to grip the ball.
His hands are just one aspect of his Apert syndrome, a genetic disorder that prevents the skull from developing normally. In order to overcome the challenge, however, Cadena has spent every day of the last few weeks practicing with his father for the first pitch.
With Cody Bellinger – who is his favorite player – acting as his catcher, Cadena nailed the throw and left the field feeling like he was “on cloud 9.”
“I had told him to go from a distance of about 40 feet, but for whatever reason, he went to the top of the mound,” father Joe Cadena told the Press-Enterprise. “I’m proud of him. He did well.”
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Hit A Home Run With Your Friends And Share This Inspiring Story To Social Media – Photo by NBC LA