Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
High-A Affiliate
The Official Site of the Dayton Dragons Dayton Dragons

The Dayton Dragons and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio have been partnering since 2004 to bring Dragons fans the iconic Home Run for Life program. Each season, Anthem and the Dragons recognize brave children who, with the help of their families, friends, and health care team, are presently battling or have successfully overcome significant medical events in their young life.

Home Run for Life events are promoted in advance through newspaper ads, radio spots and the Dragons game program, PlayBall! A personalized newspaper ad in the Dayton Daily News tells each honoree's story a few days prior to their event. And the honoree's photo and story are featured on the fold-out inside front cover of the complimentary PlayBall! game program handed out to all attendees on the night of their Home Run for Life.

During each Home Run for Life, Anthem hosts the honoree and his/her support team of family, friends, doctors, and Anthem representatives in a luxury suite.

Each honoree is recognized on the field during an inning break. The honoree, their family and support team are taken onto the field and the honoree gets to take a symbolic lap around the bases to a standing ovation from the crowd.

Learn more about our honorees:

Adler Miller

A new normal, but bright future for an inspirational 10-year-old

In April 2023, Adler’s parents accompanied her to her pediatrician’s office for a routine checkup. Adler, an outgoing 10-year-old who enjoys playing volleyball, dancing, and jumping on her trampoline had been waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. They were hoping to figure out why this new nighttime routine was happening.

The pediatrician alerted the Miller family of the concern that further testing could potentially lead to a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, meaning Adler’s blood sugar levels tested extremely high. Additional testing at the hospital would confirm this suspicion. Adler and her family spent the next three days meeting with dietitians, social workers, nurses, and doctors, learning how to deal with the challenges of her new normal.

When they transitioned back home, the Miller’s had a lot to adjust to – monitoring carbs, attending quarterly checkups, and administering insulin shots. Adler faces many challenges, one of which is figuring out what foods spike her blood sugar levels. She has a Dexcom device that pairs to a mobile app informing her of her sugar levels. If her blood sugar levels get too low, she needs to eat a fast-acting carb. If her blood sugar level gets too high, an insulin shot must be administered. Adler has been very strong through her journey. On the first day of her diagnosis Adler was brave enough to give herself an insulin shot and has administered nearly every insulin injection since.

Adler and her family faced this challenge head on and one year later are having an easier time settling into her new normal. Adler’s diagnosis makes her no different than anyone else, she and her family are grateful for how they have handled their challenging journey. Adler aspires to become a pediatric endocrinologist because of the care she received from her medical team. She has strong ambitions to make the world a better place. “Living with diabetes makes me feel that I can be inspiring and impactful in mine and others lives,” said Adler.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons applaud all those who have been instrumental in Adler’s life, including her mom, dad, sister, extended family, friends, and her entire medical team.

Owen Blanton

Owen’s Brave Journey

Owen Blanton is an energetic 7-year-old who loves dinosaurs and playing outside on his swing set with his twin brother Wyatt and older brother Mason. He enjoys eating mac and cheese and when he can’t be outside playing, he likes to play Jurassic Park on his PlayStation.

In June of 2021, Owen’s parents noticed his lymph nodes were swollen. They went to urgent care where he was diagnosed with strep throat and was prescribed antibiotics. The swelling did not reduce, and Owen was referred to an ear, nose, and throat doctor. The doctors suspected he had an abscess on his tonsils, prescribed additional antibiotics, and suggested coming back later for further evaluation. Owen’s symptoms worsened, including troubled breathing and night sweats.

The Blanton family were referred to oncology specialists where Owen was admitted for eight days. Tests confirmed a diagnosis of t-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Following his diagnosis, Owen went through intense chemotherapy treatment. Treatment worked to reduce leukemia in his body. In December of 2021, the Blanton family received great news that leukemia was no longer detectable in Owen’s body.

After nearly a year of intense treatments Owen entered his maintenance phase. This phase includes a daily chemotherapy pill, monthly checkups, and infusions. Owen will be finished with all treatments in December 2024.

Throughout their journey, Owen and his family have remained strong by taking things one day at a time, trusting their medical team, and leaning into their faith.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons applaud all those who have been instrumental in Owen’s life, including his mom, dad, twin brother, older brother, and his entire medical team.

Leaha Hammaker

Leaha’s Journey Back to the Diamond

In May 2022, on a Friday night at home Leaha, an artsy 12-year-old softball player, was dealing with a bloody nose that wouldn’t stop. Her parents immediately took her to the hospital where they were able to stop the bleeding. Leaha had additional symptoms which caused her parents to request additional blood work to see what may have been the cause.

The Hammaker family stayed at the hospital over the weekend while they completed various tests which ultimately confirmed the diagnosis of leukemia. Following her diagnosis, Leaha began her brave journey through chemo and went into remission in June 2022. One of the many challenges during Leaha’s treatment was frequent hospital stays, but she found enjoyment in the creative ways the trained hospital staff interacted with her. She recalled a friendly Nerf battle that took place on her floor once.

Last August Leaha was able to have her port for treatment removed. This allowed her to return to the field and play her favorite sport; softball where she predominantly plays first base and catcher. Leaha is currently in her maintenance phase which includes taking various pills spaced throughout the day and routine lumbar punctures. Throughout her journey, Leaha and her family never gave up. “Battling leukemia makes me feel strong!”, said Leaha.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons applaud all those who have been instrumental in Leaha’s life, including her parents, sister, two brothers, and her entire medical team.

Lucy Kopp

In February 2023, the Kopp family was enjoying a relaxing vacation in Florida. Lucy, a shy, but spunky and active 7-year-old, was experiencing frequent nightmares and what her mom, Kendra, believed to be a UTI infection. They made an appointment with her pediatrician just to be safe.

The doctor’s appointment didn’t last long. They did a urine sample, told Lucy’s parents to give her a baking soda bath that evening, and to send her back to school if she was feeling well enough to do so. Lucy returned to school that next day and within an hour her parents got a phone call from her pediatrician. They were told to quickly pick Lucy back up from school and rush her to the ER, stating Lucy had dangerously high sugar levels in her urine.

Lucy was rushed into a room where needles, medications, and doctors moved around her for the next 72 hours. Labs at the hospital confirmed her diagnosis – Type 1 Diabetes. The Kopp family stayed busy meeting with nutritionists, social workers, and doctors. They were being trained in the science of diabetes, and nurses were in and out of the room administering medication and prepping Lucy for her new normal. Their healthy, active 7-year-old, who they thought just had a UTI, now has a lifelong disease.

When they transitioned back home, the Kopp’s had a lot to adjust to – counting carbs, weighing food, and administering shots. Lucy’s Dexcom device monitors her blood sugar levels. If her blood sugar is too low,
Lucy needs to eat a fast-acting carb. If her blood sugar is too high, they administer a shot of
insulin. A difficult task for a kid who hated needles.

This journey is one that Lucy will continue to battle but has made her a new person. She says, “While it is scary at first, I have become brave and strong. I couldn’t do it without my parents and friends.” Lucy loves to visit the lake and the beach in the summer and hopes to have as many puppies as possible one day.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons applaud all those who have been instrumental in Lucy’s life, including her family, Dr. Peiffer and her entire medical team.