One year after brain surgery 11 year old takes batting practice at UNCW

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Submitted: Thu, 10/06/2011 - 3:41am
Updated: Thu, 10/06/2011 - 5:07am

WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — Zion Kinlaw underwent brain surgery in Chapel Hill on October 5th, 2010. During his stay in Chapel Hill he became friends with several members of the UNC Tar Heel baseball team.

WWAY caught up with Zion in Chapel Hill at a Duke-UNC baseball game last March.
“God has blessed me with this experience,” Kinlaw said. “I just hope he will bless others too.”

Zion has an even tighter connection with the UNC Wilmington baseball team. Over the last year he’s become close friends with several of the coaches and players. In fact he threw out the first pitch at a Seahawks game this past spring. “Whenever I came back from the hospital I wanted to raise $10,000. That’s $1,000 for every year I’ve been born. Now they’re going to be able to fix other kids and give blessings to other kids.”

Josh Abshire is a catcher for UNCW. He may be a bigger fan of Zion than Zion is of him.
“We met Zion last year. He came out to the field and talked to us about what he had been through, Abshire said. “We automatically clicked, being two catchers. He got under my wing and here we are. It’s been one year to this day that he went through what he went through. For him to come out here today is very special. It’s been a great day.”

On Wednesday afternoon Kinlaw was invited to attend baseball practice at UNCW to commemorate the one year anniversary of his successful brain surgery, but he did more than just watch. The fifth grader put on his cleats, grabbed a bat and took batting practice with the Seahawk baseball team.

Randy Hood is the pitching coach for UNCW. His daughter attends the same school as Zion Kinlaw. “Once this situation arose it felt like an opportunity where we as a baseball team could get involved because of his love for baseball and hopefully try to help him through this ordeal.”

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