Many young boys dream of becoming a ball player. They yearn for the cheering of the crowd, the bright lights that illuminate the stadium, and the stillness that comes as the first pitch is thrown out.
That experience is just what the Panther Baseball Alumni Club provided Joseph Rosa Rolon on Friday, Feb. 21.
Rolon, an outgoing student from Cypress Lake Middle School, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Joseph Rolon. PHOTO PROVIDED.
At the beginning of the school year, Rolon's family was struggling with the demands of caring for two young children, one of whom is very sick. The amount of time the family spent taking him to and from chemotherapy was immense. Without the benefit of having a car, his mother was forced to quit her full time job.
"The experience of hearing Joseph's story and then meeting this courageous young man has been an inspiration to the Panther Baseball Alumni Club, who has been fortunate enough to collaborate in Cypress Lake High School & Cypress Lake Middle School administration and faculty efforts. The club wanted to be sure to share Joseph's story with others," said Chris Davison, president of the Panther Baseball Alumni Club.
A few months ago, Cypress Lake Middle School's administration, faculty, and staff were able to come together and assist Joseph's family with getting into an apartment and providing them with gift cards for food, new clothes, and bus passes through funds they had collected.
With help from the Panther Baseball Alumni Club and special assistance from the Island Inn on Sanibel, the family was able to furnish their entire apartment with necessities such as beds, dressers, couches, sheets, towels, blankets, TV, ironing board, and other items.
"We were all happy to help and I am truly proud to see the positive influence school administrators, school faculty, non-profit organizations, private businesses and individuals can make when a spirit of cooperation and team persists," said Dawn Pierce of Cypress Lake Middle School.
Rolon took center stage during the Cypress Lake High School vs. Lely High School varsity baseball game. He was given a full varsity uniform, named honorary captain of the team, was announced with the players, and received special gifts from both teams and the Kagan Law Firm.
"We are honored that Cypress Lake High School is able to have Joseph as our guest," said Tracy Perkins, principal.
For information on donation opportunities for Joseph, please visit PantherBaseballAlumni.org/Joseph, where PayPal donations are accepted. Donations may also be mailed to Cypress Lake Middle School, 8901 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33919, Attention: Dawn Pierce. Checks should be made payable to Panther Baseball Alumni Club.