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For Starters
Palm Coast Thursday, Jul. 14, 2011 8 years ago

Help for Tyler Jacques?

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by: Andrew OBrien Contributing Writer

A few weeks ago, I wrote a story about Tyler Jacques, a 9-year-old baseball player in Palm Coast Little League who has a prosthetic leg and a deformed hand. (It was in the June 16 issue.)

When I sat down for the interview with Tyler and his mom, Jennifer, I could tell right off the bat that Tyler was a shy, but nice kid.

I distinctly remember the day because the smoke from the fires in the county was horrible, and it was at least 95 degrees on the field.

We did the interview and talked for some time. The family was more than grateful for the story and just meeting a kid like Tyler put a lot of things into perspective for me. At 9 years old, he has overcame so much adversity in his life in such a short period of time. It’s remarkable.

But the story gets better.

Last Thursday, I was sitting at my desk in the office working on stories. My cell phone rang, but I didn’t recognize the number. I let it go to voicemail.

“Hi, my name is Melissa Siegfried, and I’m calling from Ball Parks 4 Him,” the message started.

Siegfried went on to say that she was calling me in regard to the story I wrote about Tyler.

I returned her call.

Siegfried represents a foundation, Ball Parks 4 Him, which she started in memory of her son, Zachary, who died Sept. 10, 2009, from a brain aneurysm while playing outside with his twin brother, Kyle. Zachary was 7.

Siegfried told me on the phone that ever since her son’s death, she has hoped to change other children’s lives.

A relative of Siegfried happened to read my story about Tyler. (Siegfried lives in Port Orange.)

Siegfried said she has medical connections and might be able to help Tyler.

I called Jennifer right away to tell her the news.

To make a long story short, I got an email from Jennifer on Sunday morning, telling me that she spoke with Siegfried and arranged a meeting on July 25 when Tyler will meet with a prosthetic specialist.

Though nothing is imminent, anything is possible.

A sports leg would cost about $13,000, Jennifer said.

Like Siegfried writes on her website, www.ballparks4him.org, “That is only 13,000 people donating $1 each.”

I was fortunate enough to write an article about Tyler’s remarkable story.

If he’s able to get a sports leg or a glove — or both or neither — I know he’ll write the rest.

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