'A beautiful day': Watch White Sox fulfill young fan's dream

June 26th, 2022

CHICAGO -- Beau Dowling had just finished running the bases in a special “Home Run for Life” moment prior to Saturday’s contest between the White Sox and Orioles when the 7-year-old received a surprise visitor just behind home plate at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Baltimore’s Trey Mancini, who has dealt with and beaten colon cancer, made his way to Beau along with his six siblings and his mother and father, Meg and Jim, to offer a few brief words of encouragement.

“Trey, he’s also battled cancer and he just wanted to give a few words to Beau and that was just amazing,” said Jim of Mancini’s talk. “From what I heard, it was just ‘Beau, keep fighting.’ That was, to say the least … It was emotional.”

“I wanted to go over there after he ran the bases and just tell him that he was awesome,” Mancini said. “I told him that I had cancer two years ago and I’m doing just fine now. And I know the same thing is gonna happen to him too. I just wanted him to know that.”

The White Sox fulfilled an “ultimate wish” for Dowling, who was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma as a toddler. He battled through stem cell transplants as well as several rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy. Beau recently was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, a less aggressive form of cancer than neuroblastoma and the second time he’s dealt with it, and underwent surgery earlier this month.

There wasn’t a chance for Beau to meet many players because of a 1 hour and 21 minute rain delay before the first pitch, although Jim said shortstop Tim Anderson gave Beau a wink from the dugout. But with the White Sox standing on the third-base line as a team and the entire Orioles squad standing on the first-base line, Beau showed off a really good looking swing before exchanging countless low fives and high fives as he raced from home to home.

White Sox manager Tony La Russa made a point of waving to Beau as he was walking off the field and tipped his cap to the young man.

“It was just class,” Jim said. “Unbelievable.”

Saturday’s festivities included Beau throwing out a first pitch to Southpaw and giving the “play ball” call leading into Lance Lynn’s first pitch, which was quite a way to spend the day despite Beau missing his team’s championship game to be in attendance. The Dowling family also has dealt with their 17-year-old daughter, Ella, battling through ovarian cancer, which was diagnosed two weeks after Beau was diagnosed again with thyroid cancer.

So, it was a true celebration of life and happiness on Saturday.

“Oh my gosh. Yes. For all of us,” Meg said. “Even my big kids were like, the oldest is 21. They were just in awe. Everywhere we turn was like a surprise and just an emotional rollercoaster. It was awesome.”

“He’s gone through a lot ever since a year and a half, his third go around with cancer,” Jim said. “He’s just a fighter and today is just a beautiful day for our family and we are proud to be here and celebrate. It’s just amazing for the Baltimore Orioles to come out of the dugout and the White Sox players to come out of their dugout. For Beau, this is outstanding.”

“That was really cool to see both teams on the line and his family out there,” Mancini said. “It was absolutely incredible to be a part of it.”