Anya gets a homerun!

Okay, full disclosure here. This friendship moment happened a while back now, but since the World Series just ended I’ve been feeling a little bit of baseball nostalgia — so I wanted to share one of my favorite baseball friendships!

Back in March, Anya was celebrating her last day of chemo when someone special stopped by to join her! It was Manny Sanguillen, 2x World Series champ as the Pirates’ catcher in the 70s.

Anya played a lot of softball growing up, but had to stop while she was going through treatment. She really missed it, and asked to be matched with a Pirates player. 

For anyone who knows Anya, you know that classic Anya smile. She & Manny have a lot in common that way! 🙂

When Manny came to visit we all watched the baseball game together. For some reason, the two of them picked the worst seats in the room!

We asked Manny who his favorite current player is, and he said Starling Marte. Well, guess who hit a home run 3 minutes later?

You got it. It was Mr. Marte!

Manny immediately turned to Anya and said:
“Yay! I knew he’d hit that home run! I’m going to give that home run to you. He hit it just for you!”

At the end of the day, Manny signed Anya’s jersey (it had Manny’s number on it) and a few other things. 

Anya surprised Manny by giving him a baseball with HER autograph on it!

One of the things we learned from Anya & her family is how easy it can be to get stuck in fight or flight mode and lose your favorite things upon diagnosis. 

For Anya, we wanted to find a friend who could give her a way to hold on to her favorite things during the hardest parts of treatment. 

Manny helped Anya keep the love of softball — and encouraged her to keep dreaming beyond the cancer journey. 

Activity Kits

​Help 8-year-old Joe

Future Scientist

Get a science experiment kit to explore with his mentor!

​Help 9-year-old Myla

Future Artist

Get art supplies to create with her mentor!

Help 23-year-old Erik

Future Coffee Barista

Get coffee supplies to learn how to create specialty drinks with his mentor!

The pandemic showed many people what social isolation is really like. It also showed there are many other great ways to connect. That’s why we launched our activity kits. These mailed out packages provide fun activities for our mentors and kids/young adults to do together — virtually.

Reach Out to Us

Or contact Friendship@ConnectingChampions.org / 412.376.3755