Kids from Beaumont Children’s practice with the pros

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 9, 2018

 Rylee Hamilton, of Rochester Hills, hits the ball at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica June 30 during a special baseball activity day for kids from Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center.

Rylee Hamilton, of Rochester Hills, hits the ball at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica June 30 during a special baseball activity day for kids from Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

 Kids from Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center play catch with Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers baseball players  June 30 at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica.

Kids from Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center play catch with Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers baseball players June 30 at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

UTICA — The Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center joined the four baseball teams of the United Shore Professional Baseball League in hosting a special activity day for pediatric patients from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 30 at Jimmy John’s Field, 7171 Auburn Road in Utica.

This is the third year that the Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center and the USPBL came together to host a special day for the patients and their families.

The children, along with their families, were invited to meet the players, run drills and play ball on the field. The children each received a T-shirt and a medal, and they enjoyed lunch.

Patients from Beaumont’s four locations came out and participated in a one-on-one practice with the four professional baseball teams.

“We contacted them (Jimmy John’s Field) through an email and set up a meeting to discuss the event. This is our third year running, and we usually have a waitlist. The event is one-on-one, and it is split up into two groups; the morning is ages 7 to 10, and the afternoon is ages 3 to 6. Patients from each of our four locations register for the event and come out to attend the event each year.” said Magda Girao, the supervisor at Beaumont Macomb Pediatric Rehab Center.

“It opens up a possibility for the patients to do something outside of just going to their doctor appointments and then back home. We always try to do a few events each year for the patients — like the bike day we host in May, where we refurbish free bikes for the kids by raising money all year long,” said Girao.

Each patient was partnered with a volunteer to help them participate in each activity. In each session, patients began with a warmup and then tossing a ball. They practiced batting, fielding and running the bases. The baseball teams gave tips to help participants learn.    

Ballplayers from each of the four league teams participated, which includes the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers, the Utica Unicorns and the Westside Wooly Mammoths.

At 12:30 p.m., Acer Bowman-Tomlinson, the brother of Calli Bowman-Tomlinson, who was unable to attend due to a rescheduling of the event, sang the national anthem.

Acer Bowman-Tomlinson, of Utica, is a 13-year-old student at Eppler Junior High School who is homeschooled and is visually impaired. Acer attends Eppler for the music program. He competes each year in the Michigan Music Association singing competition and just finished his fifth year competing.

“It’s always fun to sing, and I’m excited to sing at the event. I usually sing with my sister, and we do a duet. I practice for months before I sing, and oftentimes I compete and participate in concerts for the holidays at the Beaumont in Royal Oak,” he said.

Acer’s mom, Heather Bowman-Tomlinson, attended the event with Acer and shared how excited he was to sing at the event.

“Acer’s sister also goes to Royal Oak Beaumont. He volunteered to sing in place for her, since she couldn’t attend due to a prior commitment. He practices for months at churches, and plays the piano and drums,” she said.

The Children’s Miracle Network helped to support the event by providing shirts and medals for each child. Jimmy John’s supplied water, food and hats from each team for each patient.

Beaumont Children’s is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in southeast Michigan and has served more than 200,000 children in the area in 2017.

Beaumont Macomb pediatric patient Rylee Hamilton, 9, of Rochester Hills, a student at Brooklands Elementary, participated in the first session and was with her mother, Laura Hamilton. Rylee has been diagnosed with spina bifida.

“It was fun, and I did this two years ago. I loved it, and I even got a picture with the team,” said Rylee.

Rylee’s mom said it was a great event.

“It’s unique and cool in a way that the children are able to come out and have fun outside of just leaving their home to go to doctor’s appointments and then back home again. It gets them out and having fun, and volunteers come out and spend their time doing this for them,” said Laura.

A baseball game followed the event at 7 p.m., with the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers taking on the Utica Unicorns. One family received tickets to attend the game later that night.