Butera's pink hair honors bet with young fan

Royals catcher hosts cancer patient Dagan Lingenfelter for series opener vs. Yanks

May 18th, 2018

KANSAS CITY -- A deal is a deal.

It was Dec. 14, 2016, when Royals catcher made a pact, actually a hand-written contract, with Dagan Lingenfelter, a 7-year-old second-grader from the Kansas City area who is battling cancer.

In the contract, Butera agreed that if Dagan were to become cancer-free, Butera would dye his hair whatever color Dagan wanted.

So on Friday morning, to follow through on his end of the contact with the news that Dagan was cancer-free, Butera was off to see a hair stylist. Butera showed up at Kauffman Stadium in the afternoon with pink hair prior to the series opener against the Yankees.

"Pink is his favorite color," Butera said. "Now we have matching hair. It was really a fun thing we did. I'm glad we did it, and it's for a good cause and he's cancer free. I don't know if I would have chosen pink, but if it makes him smile, it makes me smile."

Butera said he met Dagan through a mutual friend.

"I met him at Children's Mercy Hospital when he was just diagnosed," Butera said. "We ended up hanging together for about an hour and have kept in touch since."

Dagan remembers that day well.

"I'm in the hospital, and he comes in, and we're like 'Wait, who is this?'" Dagan said. "I'm like, 'I know this guy, but who is this?' Then I'm like, 'Oh, gosh!' So he comes in and says when I kick cancer's butt, he will dye his hair any color I wanted. We made a deal, and we did that today."

Dagan was diagnosed in 2016 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Though he has been in remission for a year, he will remain in treatment for approximately two more years, which is standard procedure for this type of cancer.

Dagan was Butera's guest at the ballpark on Friday, along with Dagan's mother, Megan Hanna.

"This has been really cool," Butera said. "To make his day, it makes my day."