Fireflies welcome local kids with special needs to play with the pros

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – The Columbia Fireflies shared the field with a great group of guests at Spirit Communications Park Saturday, throwing batting practice to kids from the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission before continuing their series against the Delmarva Shorebirds.

A group of the athletes taking part in the festivities were special needs children, receiving the opportunity to run the bases and participate alongside pro baseball players turned new friends.

Adam Bugenske is one of the fathers of the athletes getting their chance to shine Saturday. His son, Leo, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy shortly after he was born. His family created “Leo’s Pride Foundation” to help their son and others facing similar situations.

“To come down here with your kid and push him in his wheelchair around the bases is a pretty amazing thing, especially if you get a difficult diagnosis and you don’t think that you’re gonna see yourself on a field with your kid playing. So today to be out here with our son, Leo, and to be out here with all his friends, and seeing them have a good time, it’s special.”

Leo’s foundation raises money for families to buy medically accessible vans and provide grants for research. This year, they’ll be helping Saluda Shoals Park build a fully inclusive playground thanks to fundraising from a 5K run in the fall.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports