ALBURNETT — A sea of orange filled the stands and field Wednesday night when Alburnett and North Linn decided to play their double header in honor of something more than a win or a loss.
An “Orange Out” was held Wednesday in honor of 3-year-old Gavin Reed of Center Point, who was diagnosed with leukemia on April 27 of this year. Gavin’s father, Kyle, is a 2002 Alburnett graduate and his mother, Emily, a 2003 North Linn alumnus.
It was an event that Alburnett coach Kevin Johnson had been trying to set in motion for the last couple of months.
“We’ve been wanting to do something to support when we heard about this,” said Alburnett coach Kevin Johnson, who has known Kyle’s family for many years. “So I just told them early on we’re going to do something, just don’t know what.”
It was decided after talking to members of the North Linn squad that honoring Gavin during a game was a great opportunity. It was also a move by the two communities that surprised even Kyle and Emily.
“I was just kind of taken aback that they would come together for a bigger cause than just the two team rivalry,” Emily said. “It’s pretty big of them to do it.”
Gavin’s leukemia is now in remission, but he will still undergo chemotherapy treatments for the next three and a half years. Despite the long journey ahead, his cure and survival rate “skyrocketed” due to his cancer entering remission within the first 29 days of his diagnosis.
Watching their son go to the mound before the first of two games to throw out the first pitch was something that came as a “relief” to Kyle and Emily and being able to spend a night at the ballpark is something their whole family had been looking forward to.
“That’s the great thing about small communities,” Kyle said. “Everybody comes together and you’re one big family.”