Sportress of Blogitude

Heartbreaking details emerge about young man Matt Kemp touched with kind gesture


Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke has written a wonderful piece about the wonderful thing Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp did recently to brighten one young fan’s day amid suffering through a devastating and fatal illness.

On Tuesday, video surfaced of Matt Kemp giving an autographed ball, and then his hat, jersey and shoes to a disabled young fan at AT&T Park following a weekend game against the San Francisco Giants.

The video documented a scene that was a touching, heartwarming and special on its own, but now with Plaschke providing additional facts about what happened and the backstory of this poor young man, sadly, the heartwarming story is turned into something a little more heartbreaking.

It turns out that the young man has a terminal illness and doctors say that he has only 90 days to live.

First, the video:

Plaschke reports that Kemp promised Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach that he would visit the young man, who we now know as Joshua Jones, a 19-year-old from Tracy, Calif., who is suffering from inoperable tumors in his spine that have been deemed more or less a death sentence. Jones decided a few weeks ago to stop chemotherapy treatments because they no longer helped and accepted his cruel fate.

His family and friends pooled together money so Jones could see his Dodgers one last time. And that’s when Kemp’s promise to Wallach came in.

Wallach says that despite the fact that Kemp is going through a horrible slump and just saw his team swept by the Giants, the Dodgers outfielder still made good on his word.

“But that was the neat deal about it,” Wallach said. “He was standing there waiting for me,” reports Plaschke.

Kemp was nearly moved to tears by his interaction with Jones.

“I said hi to him, he just looked at me in kind of shock, and it almost got me,” Kemp said. “It almost got me.”

Additional details from Plaschke’s touching column:

“I was in shock,” Jones said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t believe he’s doing this.’”

Filming it all through his smartphone, creating a video that has created an Internet buzz, was his buddy Tommy Schultz.

“The shirt, the cap, wow. … Then he took off the cleats and I was blown away,” Schultz said.

Remembering it forever will be Joshua’s brother, Ryan, 20, who says Kemp dressed their entire family in wide-eyed amazement.

“I don’t think words can explain how great this was,” Ryan said. “If this is the last memory of his life, it was an incredible one.”

Incredible, but heartbreaking. It truly makes you take stock and appreciate how truly fortunate you are just to have your health.

Man, it sure is getting dusty in here.