Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Dragons present an Anthem Home Run for Life

By Tom Nichols / Dayton Dragons | April 12, 2018 4:55 PM ET

Dayton, Ohio -- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons will host 9-year-old JD Shope during the unique Anthem Home Run for Life program on Wednesday, April 18, at 7:00 p.m., when the Dayton Dragons take on the South Bend Cubs at Fifth Third Field. 

The Anthem Home Run for Life program provides children in the Dayton region who are battling serious medical conditions with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Each honoree gets to take a lap around the bases at Fifth Third Field during a sold-out Dragons home game while the crowd cheers them on.

JD Shope is an active third grader at Arrowood Elementary. He spends his time hanging out with his friends, watching TV, and riding his horse Mac. His favorite passion is riding rollercoasters. While he sounds like a typical kid, JD's journey in the last year has been far from typical.

In the spring of 2017, JD began vomiting somewhat regularly - enough that his parents took him to his pediatrician for an exam. After a visit to a gastroenterologist and additional testing, what seemed like a classic case of acid reflux turned out to be much more.

Doctors recommended that JD undergo neurological imaging to look for the cause of his symptoms. On his 9th birthday, JD had a CT scan done and, unfortunately, his scan revealed an egg-sized tumor in his brain.

The initial 72 hours after JD's diagnosis was a whirlwind. JD was scheduled for a surgery to remove the tumor as soon as possible. The surgery was more complicated than surgeons initially thought but, thankfully, they were able to remove the entire tumor and the immediate results looked great.

Following surgery, JD began physical and occupational therapy to regain his strength. Through it all, JD's personality shined. He was always upbeat, positive, and had a great sense of humor. JD's most recent MRI showed no new tumor growth, meaning he will not have to have chemotherapy or any other treatments at this time.

JD is looking forward to living a normal life this summer. He hopes to visit a local waterpark or two. He has big dreams of attending The Ohio State University and focusing on either veterinary studies or the culinary arts. Since his experience with a brain tumor, JD has great advice for anyone going through a scary or overwhelming medical situation, "You have to be patient, confident and strong…The doctors and nurses will take the very best care of you they can!"

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dayton Dragons applaud all those who have been instrumental in JD's life, including his parents Jason and Pam, siblings Marissa and Megan, Dr. Lober, and his entire medical support team. Please join us in cheering on JD as he completes his Home Run for Life at Fifth Third Field on April 18.

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 dragons@daytondragons.com, or on the web at daytondragons.com.

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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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