FORT MYERS, Fla. – It’s a sport to many, but for one Southwest Florida player, it’s family.
“I like getting to run around and play and just hit and run.”
Baseball is eight year-old Jayden Salazar’s favorite sport. He’s been playing for a little league team with Gulf Coast Baseball (GCB) for more than a year, but doctors forced him to stop last month.
After suffering from swollen lymph nodes since December, it was finally diagnosed as Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
“It was the worst day of my life.” said Jayden’s mom, Kathy Salazar. She says Jayden fell at school, and couldn’t touch his shoulder. “I didn’t think it was that, I thought it was something else, but I knew something wasn’t right.”
Jayden’s already started chemotherapy, but his family says his spirit hasn’t changed a bit.
“He’s special, he’s strong.” said Jamie Salazar, Jayden’s dad.
When his team learned the news, they went to work, thinking of ways to help the Salazar’s both emotionally, and financially.
“It’s awesome to see everyone from all parts of Southwest Florida out here participating to help one family. Jayden loves baseball, his family loves baseball, and the community loves the Salazars.”
They were able to host a Baseball tournament, featuring 60 different teams, with proceeds going toward’s Jayden’s medical bills.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Salazar. “To know that everyone is doing this for him. It’s almost too much.”
GCB teams wore neon green shirts, with Jayden’s number, 2, on the back.
Along with phrases of support, Team Jayden and Salazar Strong.
The tournament sold tickets to participate and watch, as well as extras like food, drinks, T-shirts and raffle tickets.
An effort Jayden’s parents say, they’ll be forever grateful for.
The Salazar’s tell WINK News Jayden’s doctors have given him a 75 percent chance of making a full recovery, with treatment.
Jayden’s baseball coach, Artie Clyee says the whole team will continue to rally behind him through his battle, and until he can play again.
“His spirit will definitely carry him through the battle that he’s going through,” said Clyee.