Teen softball player donates her Make-A-Wish to local high school
“Cystic fibrosis -- battles that bring blessings.”
This is the phrase that Emersyn Drollinger, a 14-year-old Make-A-Wish youth from Idaho, lives by every single day. Her health condition, which could be viewed as a negative, turned into a major positive when she recently used her wish to bless others.
Emersyn was born with cystic fibrosis and was immediately transported by an emergency helicopter at less than a day old to have her first surgery. CF can create a mucus build up that can cause infections or blockages in different parts of the body. Since birth, Emersyn has had to have daily medications and respirator treatments to keep her CF contained.
Her mom, Lisal Drollinger, talked about how her daughter has handled this tough condition.
“CF is a fatal genetic condition,” Lisal Drollinger wrote in a social media post recently. “But [Emersyn] isn't dying. At least not now … right now, CF isn't winning. She is.”
Throughout her life, Emersyn has found a love for the game of softball. When her coach first found out about her condition, he wasn’t quite sure what her limitations may be. After talking with Emersyn and learning about her interest, the coach talked with her about needing a catcher. Lisal emphasized that her daughter would be up to the task and more than capable of excelling in the position.
Emersyn said what she loves most about softball is “hanging out with her friends, and the coaches make it super fun.”
This is where Emersyn’s wish came in. After many years of being able to think about what wish she wanted, Emersyn decided to give a wish to the community that had impacted her, instead of receiving one. Because she lives in the snowy state of Idaho, her school decided that they wanted to build an indoor facility, so the softball and baseball teams could still practice in the cold of winter. Once it was approved to be built, the community rallied behind the teams to raise the money needed.
Pitch in for Baseball & Softball is an organization that provides new and gently used baseball and softball equipment to boys and girls in the United States and around the world who want to play ball but lack the equipment to do so.
Annually, Major League Baseball gives Pitch In For Baseball & Softball a donation, which it then uses to purchase equipment and uniforms for RBI Programs and other youth baseball and softball organizations, on MLB’s behalf.
Earlier this month, alongside Make-A-Wish Idaho, these two organizations worked together to grant Emersyn’s wish of gifting softball and baseball equipment to her local high school, though she is only an eighth grader right now.
Emersyn talked about why she decided to share her wish instead of using it for herself.
"I don't want or need anything. I have it all. I want to share my wish with others," she said.
The response from the community was amazing. For the reveal ceremony, around 300 people came to see the unveiling of all of the equipment. Every item that was on Emersyn’s list was there, from tees to helmets to speakers to bats to face masks to softballs and more.
As Emersyn heads to high school later this year, she hopes that her wish can help players, both now and in the future.
“I just hope that it is something that will benefit a lot of softball players in the future -- and maybe even me when I get into high school," she said.