Youth baseball player targeting cure for arthritis with hit-a-thon
June 7, 2013
A Fort Belvoir youth is hosting a hit-a-thon to raise awareness and help find a cure for an arthritic disease on June 15 at 1 p.m., at Specker Field House.
Regan Sinclair, 13-year-old first basemen and pitcher for Fort Belvoir's Rangers baseball team, and his parents are hosting the event to help Regan and others suffering from Spondyloarthritis, an illness that causes pain in the joints and spine.
Prior to the event, youth baseball players ages 9 to 14 and Family members are accepting fixed donations and pledge-per-foot offers from community members to support the cause. The money will go to the Spondylitis Association of America.
"My wife and I both are extremely proud of Regan. He's thinking outside of the box … to not only help himself, but to also help other people who have his condition," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Phillip Sinclair, A Company 12th Aviation Battalion pilot. "If we could find a cure that would be outstanding … seeing his condition go away would be amazing."
Regan was diagnosed with Spondyloarthritis in 2011 but has been dealing with inflammation and tenderness since he was four, according to Phillip. Spondyloarthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the sacroiliac joints between the pelvis and the spine, as well as joints along the spine. It can also affect the knees, ankles, toes, hips, shoulders and ribcage. Regan experiences pain and discomfort in all of these areas, according to Phillip. Spondyloarthritis accounts for about 20 percent of all types of childhood arthritis and symptoms include pain and tenderness due to inflammation in the ligaments and tendons where they attach to the bone. Regan receives a shot every five days, takes oral medication and recently started physical therapy to deal with his condition. Regan separated the pain and discomfort he feels from Spondyloarthritis into good weeks and bad weeks. On a scale from one to ten during good weeks, he described the pain as 0 to one while on bad weeks the pain is an eight. Bad weeks occur one to three times per year and often involve trips to the emergency room.
Despite the Spondyloarthritis, Regan continues to play baseball at a very high level for Fort Belvoir's Rangers and the South County Outlaws, a travel team based in Lorton, Va. He's a dominant player which is evident in a recent stretch of games where Regan hit six home-runs, pitched a no-hitter and a one-hit shutout. Regan also won a sectional competition in Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit and Run competition against 13 to 15-year-olds. He's waiting to hear if his score is good enough to compete in a regional competition.
"I'm in the game and focused when we're playing but after the game I'll be sore," said Regan, explaining how he manages to play at a high level despite his Spondyloarthritis. Regan, whose favorite baseball players are Bryce Harper and Alex Rodriquez, hopes to play baseball professionally.
"I want to get better at it," Regan said. "Hopefully, I'll play in college and then be a major league baseball player one day."
Phillip, who manages the Rangers and is an assistant coach on the Outlaws, provided another reason for Regan's success.
"I'm very proud of him because I see the work that he puts in and sometimes I don't think other people realize how hard he works," Phillip said. "They see when he succeeds and maybe they think it comes easy but, especially with the illness he has, it really takes a lot of hard work."
Regan's work ethic on the baseball diamond is translating to the fundraising field as he continues to prepare for his hit-a-thon to raise awareness and help find a cure for Spondyloarthritis. Sponsors can offer their support towards the hit-a-thon by offering a fixed donation or pledge-per-foot offers. The pledge-per-foot means that a sponsor will match the total distance a player hits five fair balls from a pitching machine or coach during the hit-a-thon. For instance, if a community member pledges to contribute $0.25 per foot a player hits the ball and the player's total is 100 feet then the sponsor would donate $25. Phillip estimated that Regan once collected 500 to 600 dollars during a hit-a-thon event for the South County Outlaws. Regan's fundraising success with the Outlaws inspired his desire to host a hit-a-thon in honor of Spondyloarthritis victims.
"I'm doing a hit-a-thon to raise awareness and hopefully find a cure for Spondyloarthritis," Regan said.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Community members can also visit crowdrise.com/strikeoutspondylitis for more information or to donate funds.