Dayton, Ohio – Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons will host 12-year-old Gabe Duplechian during the unique Anthem Home Run for Life program on Wednesday, May 30, at 7:00 p.m., when the Dayton Dragons take on the West Michigan Whitecaps at Fifth Third Field.
The Anthem Home Run for Life program provides children in the Dayton region who are battling serious medical conditions with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Each honoree gets to take a lap around the bases at Fifth Third Field during a sold-out Dragons home game while the crowd cheers them on.
Around Christmas of 2012, Gabe Duplechian came home from school with a sore arm. There was no incident earlier that day that would have caused the constant pain Gabe was feeling, so his parents took him to urgent care. Based on preliminary tests, it was suggested Gabe had a fracture and his arm was placed in a cast to heal.
Unfortunately, this didn’t solve Gabe’s issues. Quickly after having his cast removed, he had similar pain in his other arm and then shortly thereafter his legs. The pain was so excruciating that he was unable to walk and perform daily functions. After months of tests with results seemingly normal, Gabe’s parents were frustrated and took him to the emergency room for some answers.
After many more tests, Gabe and his parents were shocked to learn he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Gabe didn’t have the typical signs of this condition, and it had taken months for the family to get an accurate diagnosis.
ALL is a cancer of the white blood cells characterized by excess lymphoblasts. Malignant, immature white blood cells continuously multiply and are overproduced in the bone marrow. This form of cancer causes damage by crowding out normal cells in the bone marrow, and eventually spreads to other organs.
Treatment started immediately for Gabe. He had a one-week induction with steroids and then started chemotherapy. Gabe went through 30 days of isolation, lost his hair multiple times, had a buildup of ammonia, and experienced liver issues during his treatment.
Today, Gabe is 12-years-old and feels great. His last round of chemotherapy was in June of 2016 and he’s extremely grateful to be in remission. “This experience has taught me to not take things for granted,” Gabe said. “Things could always be worse. And even though I had cancer, cancer didn’t have me.”
Gabe will be in eighth grade at Kettering Middle School next school year. He enjoys english, wrestling, and playing the saxophone.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons applaud all those who have been instrumental in Gabe’s life, including his parents Jason and Adrienne, his specialist Dr. Dole, and his entire medical team. Please join us in cheering on Gabe as he completes his Home Run for Life at Fifth Third Field on May 30.
More Information: The Dayton Dragons are the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and play a 70-game home schedule at beautiful Fifth Third Field in downtown Dayton, easily accessible from Interstate 75. Individuals and groups seeking information about Dayton Dragons group tickets, lawn tickets, the season ticket wait list, sponsorship opportunities or booking a Dragons speaker are encouraged to contact the Dragons by calling at (937) 228-2287, emailing at email@example.com, or on the web at daytondragons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.