OAKLAND -- Dominic Banister has overcome more adversity in his 12 years than most people do in a lifetime.
Dominic has cerebral palsy, which has forced him to undergo 27 surgeries. But that hasn't stopped him from following his passion for baseball.
A die-hard A's fan, Dominic got to live out a lifelong dream when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Coliseum prior to Sunday's game between the A's and Angels.
Three weeks earlier, Dominic's uncle Jake Souza had tweeted a video of Dom taking a swing off a tee. The tweet quickly went viral and Souza decided to tag the A's to see if they could make a ceremonial first pitch a reality. It didn't take long for him to hear back.
"I knew his biggest dream was to throw out the first pitch," Souza said. "So I tagged the A's to see if we could make that possible. Within two hours, (A's president) Dave Kaval said yes and he bought him a suite with all of his friends. Dominic is going to have the best day of his life, thanks to Dave and the A's."
Said Kaval: "(Dominic) is just a huge A's fan. I was like, we've got to get on that immediately. We've got to get you out early in the season. We've got to make sure we can make that dream come true."
Dominic rode on a party bus from his home in Sacramento with a group of about 100 people. Wearing an autographed Matt Chapman jersey, he threw out the first pitch to Oakland bench coach Ryan Christenson, then proceeded to meet A's players and coaches in the dugout.
"It's crazy," Dominic said. "I get to see both my favorite players: Matt Chapman and Mike Trout."
Dominic's mother Raquel enjoyed the experience just as much as her son.
"It's surreal for me," she said. "I'm very proud of him and I love my brother (Jake) for this, and of course the A's too. We're just excited to be here. I'm so excited to watch this. It's a big moment for him."
Dominic's initial video on Twitter inspired thousands of people, most of them complete strangers, to like and retweet the post. Kaval and the A's organization were clearly inspired as well.
"The resiliency, perseverance, and courage that he has as a young boy is something we can all learn from," Kaval said. "We're very happy that baseball can be a vehicle to celebrate a person like that and learn from the inspiration."
Added Souza: "He was told he wasn't supposed to walk. The fact that he's going to be on a major league mound, something not a lot of people get to do, that's a goal in itself."
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That goal is now accomplished.