On Saturday January 17th, 11 members of the Laurier Baseball program took a break from their winter workouts to give back to a boy in need. The 8 student-athletes, 2 trainers and 1 assistant coach came together at the local Canadian Blood Services clinic to donate blood in honour of Gavin Shaw. Gavin, the 4 year old son of Tracie and Don, lives in Burlington and is a close family friend of Laurier Baseball trainer Kylie Masur, a second year Kinesiology student at Laurier. Gavin is unlike most 4 year old boys, when he was just 2 years of age he was diagnosed with cancer in his liver called HLH and after only a few months, he was further diagnosed with LCH, a cancer that spreads through his bloodstream. Gavin is a very brave young man and he has collected 5 necklaces referred to as “Bravery Beads”. These beads are a testament to Gavin’s courage as he has been through a bone marrow transplant and over 50 blood transfusions.
“Given the numerous amounts of blood transfusions and the lack of available blood,” explained Masur, “I knew that I had to do something to help Gavin and so I started up a group in first year to donate blood to help Gavin. I joined the Laurier Baseball program this past fall and told some of the players about Gavin and they wanted to do their part to help out. This past Saturday was the second time that members of the team have gotten together to give blood and I can’t thank them enough. It means a lot to me that they would do this to help my buddy Gavin.”
Six baseball players participated at the first clinic and 11 members of the team participated on Saturday. The day was extra special for the players, coaches and trainers as Gavin was there to meet everyone in person. He even got a few pointers on his swing from some of the players.
Laurier co-captain and fourth year Kinesiology student Chris Pittaway had this to say about the experience. “We have such a solid team built here at Laurier and it definitely extends further than the baseball field. When Kylie came to us with this cause we were all instantly willing to donate. Gavin is such an amazing little guy and is so much stronger than anyone can ever imagine being. Supporting him and his family is the least we can do. This will be something our program will continue to do as it only further unites us as a team, school and community.”
“I’m extremely proud of our guys that have participated in this great cause. It’s a testament to the kind of student-athletes that we have at Laurier and says a lot about our program. We were lucky to have Gavin as an honourary Golden Hawk for the day.” commented Head Coach SCOTT BALLANTYNE.