Paul Hoynes and Zack Maisel of Cleveland.com pass along a heartwarming story about the Cleveland Indians. Adriana Aviles, the four-year-old daughter of Indians’ infielder Mike Aviles, was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this month. She is being treated at Cleveland Clinic, and the treatments will include chemotherapy, which will cause her to lose her hair.
In a show of support, most of the Indians players and coaches have shaved or buzzed their heads. “It’s a team thing,” said second baseman and team leader Jason Kipnis. “It started with Mike’s daughter because of what she’s going through. Unfortunately, she’s going to be losing her hair soon from chemotherapy and we all wanted to join in.”
Aviles missed eight games from May 8-17 to be with his family as they dealt with the diagnosis. He has been on a tear since returning, going 7-for-17 with a home run and two runs batted in. Aviles, understandably, is not saying much about his daughter’s health with reporters, but he did comment on her reaction to his own shaved head.
“She thinks it’s funny,” he said. “She doesn’t understand it, but she knows Daddy did it. At first, she didn’t like the way my head looked.”
The life of a professional athlete is one of near-constant travel, which can be difficult in times of family crisis. “It kills me not to be home the entire time,” Aviles said. “At the same time, I know my wife is a great mom. She’s doing a great job with her, so everything is good at home. I have to get back and do the things that help provide for the family. I’ve spent a lot of time on FaceTime, talking through there. It’s definitely an interesting time. The way I see it is, she’s going to fight and I’ll be right there with her. It’s good to know that we have a lot of support on her side.”
It is wonderful to see a team pull together for a cause that has nothing to do with baseball. The gesture is lost a bit on a four-year-old child, but the support of teammates and friends is very important for Aviles and his wife. “It’s kind of cool when you have your whole team on your side. It goes without saying, everybody in here has families and they know how it is. It’s a tough time, but to know that my team, the coaching staff, everybody, is on my family’s side and my little girl’s side, it helps out a lot and makes me feel good.”
And Aviles knows that as Adriana grows up, she will understand and appreciate the support, too. “It’s something that, when she gets older, we can show her all of the cool things that everybody is on her side with.”
Well done, Indians.