On May 21st, Maryland native Kaylan King was scheduled to speak at a Make-A-Wish gala. As she was standing on stage, though, she was told to look at a monitor down below. It was there where a video of Bryce Harper appeared, in which the outfielder invited Kaylan to spend a summer day with him at Nats Park.
Well, that's what others told her he said, at least. "I didn't hear it because I was crying through the whole thing," she later admitted in a recently released segment of ESPN's always fantastic My Wish series.
That was the moment the 16-year-old's personal wish was granted. Born with a renal defect, Kaylan wasn't allowed to play any contact sports growing up, and at 14, she needed a kidney transplant — which she got from her mom.
Unfortunately, doctors think she'll require another one down the road, and she must take 24 pills a day to ensure this one works. However, despite her health issues, Kaylan has been a fixture on the softball diamond and in front of the TV, where she regularly watches her beloved Harper and his team.
So, July 2 eventually came, and the NL MVP and one of his most ardent supporters did everything together, including a shopping trip in which Harper handed Kaylan a pair of his not-yet-released cleats, a game of catch on the field and a round of batting practice in the cage. Kaylan also got to meet Daniel Murphy, Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, make up one half of a big hug with Dusty Baker and throw out the first pitch — which she did while standing on the mound, of course.
At one point during the hang out, Kaylan said she couldn't believe she was sitting next to her idol. "I'm real, I'm not a hologram," he replied, touching his hand to hers to prove it. Later, after an impressive display with the bat during the hitting session, Harper says to his new friend, "You're in the lineup tonight." She tells him she'd rather not intrude on his No. 3 spot in the order.
Overall, it was a much deserved reward for Kaylan — the "best day ever," in fact — a girl who has encountered much adversity in her young life. As for Harper, even though it won't show up on his season stat line or in fantasy league matchups, it was another home run for one of the sport's stars.
You can watch the entire segment here.