Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber is an inspirational story himself. Schwarber suffered a season-ending knee injury just two games into the 2016 season. But after rehabbing in Arizona, he surprisingly made the World Series roster and had two RBI’s in Game 2. When he first played in the Arizona Fall League, Schwarber became friends with Campbell Faulkner, a 10-year-old with his own inspiring story.
Faulkner, who suffers from a rare form of mitochondrial disease, is the reason why Schwarber has been wearing a wristband during the series. He began wearing it during games in the Arizona Fall League and decided to keep it on while facing the Cleveland Indians.
Here’s a look at Faulkner’s inspiring story and how he met Schwarber.
1. Campbell Has a Rare Form of Mitochondrial Disease & Struggles With Standing & Walking
Faulkner is from Queen Creek, Arizona and has been diagnosed with a rare form of mitochondrial disease. As the Queen Creek Independent notes, his condition makes it difficult for him to walk or stand for long periods of time. He also struggles with gaining weight and needs feeding tubes for extra nutrition and to use the restroom.
For his family – his mother Carrie, father Shane, brothers Clayton and Carsten and sister Sage – taking care of Campbell is their top priority. Carrie said that they have 13 doctors at Phoenix Children’s Hospital taking care of him. “We try to plan his schedule a week in advance,” she told the Independent.
His parents also have him enrolled at Arizona Virtual Academy, a free online public school that allows him to get the care he needs at home and go to doctors appointments without missing classes.
“Campbell is healthier at home. There is no strict schedule. If Campbell is hungry, he can eat during classes,” Carrie told the Independent.
2. Campbell & His Family Participate in the Miracle League of Arizona
Campbell loves baseball and sports, so his family signed him up for the Miracle League of Arizona, which helps children with disabilities play America’s favorite past-time. When he plays, Campbell wears a special backpack that carries his feeding tube.
“At 15 months we were told for the first time that our child was at risk for Autism. And that started our journey,” Carrie told AZ Central in January 2016.
Campbell’s siblings go to his games and Carrie is often seen wearing a shirt that reads, “Every child deserves a chance to play baseball.”
The Faulkner family has had to fly to Atlanta twice to get treatment for Campbell and he still doesn’t have a precise diagnosis. His doctors think he might have a disability that is near Cerebral Palsy, AZ Central reports. He is also taking part in a genetic study at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.
3. His Family Launched Campbell’s Crew & They Hand Out Green Wristbands
Carrie told AZ Central that she calls her family and anyone who supports Campbell “Campbell’s Crew.” Anytime they meet athletes or anyone supporting Campbell’s fight, they give them a green wristband to wear.
The family also helps raise money for Hope Kids Inc. before HopeWAlk Arizona 2016 on October 22. HopeKids is a local charity that organizes events to raise money and support children with cancer or other life-threatening conditions.
Campbell gets to wear his own unique green wristband.
4. Schwarber & Campbell Have Stayed in Contact Via Email & Says He Has the ‘IQ of a College Kid’
Schwarber was asked about the green wristband on October 28 and explained that he wears it to honor Campbell. His relationship with Schwarber means that Campbell roots for the Cubs instead of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Here’s what Schwarber told the media:
Campbell Faulkner. He’s a kid that I met down in Arizona. He’s got a rare genetic disease, and I met him in my first spring training. Really young, smart kid, and he’s just always got a big smile on his face. You know, that draws your attention to him. He’s living life to his fullest, even though he’s got something to overcome.
We’ve grown a relationship over the last two years, and I actually got to see him when I was in Mesa playing in the AFL. It was great to see him. We stay in contact through email. He’s a smart kid, man. The kid’s got an IQ of like a college kid, for being so young. That tells you how smart he is. And that’s a person you want to look up to right there.
5. Schwarber Also Shaved His Head for Joe Maddon’s Pediatric Cancer Charity
Helping children is close to the 23-year-old Schwarber’s heart. In March 2016, Schwarber participated in Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s “Respect Bald” event, which raised $30,000 to help children fighting cancer.
“I did it last year for a great cause,” Schwarber told the Chicago Tribune. “Obviously it’s for pediatric cancer. It’s (lousy) when you see kids going through that. We’re here living the dream, so whatever we can do to give them a little hope, it’s all worth it.”