Purcellville, VA (July 28, 2016) – Prior to the start of the Purcellville Canons’ regular season finale, center fielder and pitcher for the little league Winchester Outlaws and 14U Virginia Stars, Drew Franchok, was handed a newly minted baseball and proudly strolled out to the pitching mound before a packed house at Fireman’s Field.
After warming up in the bullpen, young Mr. Franchok was tasked with the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for a win-and-you’re-in the playoffs match-up against cross-town rival, the Winchester Royals. Behind the plate to receive the pitch was Canon’s first-baseman, and close family friend, Wade Arduini.
Just as impressive as the actual throw is Mr. Franchok’s story. At the age of five, the now thirteen year old was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes with a blood sugar over 900. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes both children and adults suddenly. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent it. And, at present, there is no cure.
On a daily basis, Drew endures over four insulin shots and countless finger pricks to check his blood sugar. Despite the challenge, diabetes has not dampened his spirits nor derailed his competitive drive. Drew was selected to the Winchester Baseball All-Star team in 2014 and won the Virginia State Championship for the Cal Ripken Division Major 11-70. He was also selected as a Baseball Youth All-American in 2014, played at Historic Dodgertown in the Winter Games and in Indiana for the Summer Games in 2015, appeared in Baseball Youth Magazine in 2014, and is an ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Capital Chapter.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) works tirelessly to change the reality of type 1 diabetes for millions of people by funding research, advocating for government support of research and new therapies, ensuring new therapies come to market and connecting and engaging the T1D community. Founded by parents determined to find a cure for their children with T1D, the JDRF expanded through grassroots fundraising and advocacy efforts to become a powerhouse in the scientific community with more than 100 U.S. locations and six international affiliates. The JDRF has funded nearly $2 billion in research to date and made significant progress in understanding and fighting the disease.
Please join us in congratulating Drew on the honor of throwing out the first pitch, and wishing both he and the JDRF the very best in all that they set their sights on.