In January, we were contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to partner on helping make young a young girl’s dreams come true. As it turns out, Ryleigh’s favorite player is Dr. Dot Richardson and her favorite team the University of Missouri. Since both would be at the Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational this February, it was the perfect opportunity to help make a special someone’s dream come true. We had no idea how the experience would actually be our greatest inspiration!
Ryleigh was born July 18, 2004 to Aimee and Jerome Patience in Independence, Missouri. At a young age, she was diagnosed with a condition called Hurler’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder that stops Ryleigh from breaking down sugars properly. Her dad, Jerome, will tell you “she is the toughest person I know.” Ryleigh is beating all the odds as the longest living individual with this condition.
Ryleigh loves softball and her passion for the game – and life – are evident in all she does. As would be expected, Ryleigh was inspired by her hero, Dot. But it wasn’t just Ryleigh who was inspired. We hosted 13 Division I teams – four top-ranked – at the NCSI this year and it was Ryleigh, not the universities, who stole the show. Before the games were over, Ryleigh had performed the bat-girl responsibilities for the Liberty Flames for the entire tournament, including inspiring them to beat top-ranked Arkansas and was invited to be the official bat-girl for the University of Missouri softball team.
Ryleigh explained that “she told me that whenever I dream about doing something, I need to get out of the box and do it. She said if I can’t run, just walk.”
Ryleigh dreamed of meeting Dot Richardson, meeting the Missouri Bears, and coaching softball. At the NCSI, with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Dot Richardson, the Liberty Flames, the Missouri Bears, and PFX Athletics, this young lady’s dream came true. We are honored to have been a part.
You can find more information on Ryleigh’s story and experience on YouTube. Check it out and be inspired as we are!