ANTHEM BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD, DRAGONS TEAM UP FOR “HOME RUN FOR LIFE”
Andray Simmons, Jr. will celebrate his Anthem Home Run for Life on Wednesday, August 12
Dayton, Ohio — Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons will host 15-year-old Andray Simmons, Jr. during the unique “Home Run for Life” program on Wednesday, August 12, at 7 p.m. when the Dayton Dragons take on the Peoria Chiefs at Fifth Third Field.
The Anthem Home Run for Life program provides children in the Dayton region a once-in-a-lifetime experience as they battle serious medical conditions. Each honoree gets to take a symbolic home run lap around the bases of Fifth Third Field during a sold-out Dragons home game while the crowd provides a standing ovation.
Click here to view Andray’s Story
Fifteen-year-old Andray Simmons, Jr. will be starting the tenth grade at Fairmont High School in the fall. His favorite subject is science, and he loves doing experiments at school and at home. When he’s not in school, he loves collecting coins and singing. Andray has an infectious smile, a positive attitude, and a contagious personality. But it hasn’t always been easy for him. When Andray was only a week old, his parents were told that he had sickle cell disease.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder in which red blood cells (which are normally round and flexible) are sticky, hard, and shaped like crescent moons. Some of the complications associated with sickle cell may include chronic pain, susceptibility to infection, organ damage, and stroke.
Because of sickle cell, Andray grew up with a chronic achy feeling, mostly in his limbs and hips. He took medication every day for the pain but still had to go to the hospital when it became unbearable- about once every three months. When Andray was in the seventh grade, his condition worsened. The doctors informed him that he had been having “mini strokes,” that were affecting his memory and his ability to perform everyday tasks. He had to relearn how to do even the simplest things, from tying his shoes to getting dressed.
In April 2015, Andray developed pneumonia, which turned into a partially collapsed lung a few days later. Eventually, he required a blood transfusion.
Today, Andray’s condition is constantly improving. He has been taking ownership of his treatment and learning how to cope with his condition. He knows what medicines he has to take every day and how to be proactive if he feels his pain is getting worse. “I really just try to take it day- by- day,” Andray said. “I try not to stress too much about my condition, and just do what I have to do to feel better.”
Sickle cell is a lifelong disease, but Andray and his family continue to manage his condition. He doesn’t make trips to the hospital nearly as much anymore, and most of his treatment can either be done at home or at the doctor’s office. He goes to occupational therapy and speech therapy to constantly improve his quality of life.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons applaud all those who have been instrumental in Andray’s life, including his parents Andray, Sr. and Jewels, his primary doctor Dr. Taylor, and his specialist Dr. Dole. Please join us in cheering on Andray as he completes his Home Run for Life at Fifth Third Field on August 12.
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 protected], or on the web at daytondragons.com.