‘Beautiful day’: White Sox give 7-year-old cancer patient a chance to run bases

CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox gave a young fan battling cancer the thrill of a lifetime on Saturday.

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Before Chicago’s game against the Baltimore Orioles at Guaranteed Rate Field, the White Sox organized a “Home Run For Life” for Beau Dowling, USA Today reported. The 7-year-old, who beat high-risk neuroblastoma as a toddler, was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer for the second time and underwent surgery earlier this month, according to MLB.com.

The White Sox stood on the third-base line and the Orioles lined up on the first-base line as Dowling stepped to the plate. Showing a smooth swing, the boy exchanged low-fives and high-fives with the players as he circled the bases. White Sox manager Tony La Russa waved and tipped his hat as the boy ended his run.

It was big day for Beau. He also threw out the first pitch to Southpaw, the official mascot of the White Sox, and gave the “play ball” call over a microphone before Lance Lynn’s first pitch, MLB.com reported.

Dowling’s family has had plenty to deal with. The boy’s older sister, Ella Dowling, 17, is battling ovarian cancer, which was diagnosed two weeks after the family learned about Beau’s second bout with thyroid cancer.

Baltimore’s Trey Mancini, who has beaten colon cancer, spoke with Beau, his six siblings and parents after the boy rounded the bases, according to MLB.com.

“Trey, he’s also battled cancer and he just wanted to give a few words to Beau and that was just amazing,” the boy’s father, Jim Dowling, said about Mancini’s talk. “From what I heard, it was just ‘Beau, keep fighting.’ That was, to say the least … It was emotional.”

“I wanted to go over there after he ran the bases and just tell him that he was awesome,” Mancini told MLB.com. “I told him that I had cancer two years ago and I’m doing just fine now. And I know the same thing is gonna happen to him too. I just wanted him to know that.”

It was an emotional day for the Dowling family.

“Oh my gosh. Yes. For all of us,” Meg Dowling said. “Even my big kids were like, the oldest is 21. They were just in awe. Everywhere we turn was like a surprise and just an emotional rollercoaster. It was awesome.”

Jim Dowling said his son has never given up against cancer.

“He’s gone through a lot ever since a year and a half, his third go-around with cancer,” Jim Mancini said. “He’s just a fighter and today is just a beautiful day for our family and we are proud to be here and celebrate.

“It’s just amazing for the Baltimore Orioles to come out of the dugout and the White Sox players to come out of their dugout. For Beau, this is outstanding.”