Aiden Heredia is 7 years old and loves baseball. He practices each week with the Pirates youth baseball team, part of Bay Area Texas Baseball.
Each week, Aiden also has a trip to Texas Children's Hospital where he receives chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
His mother, Rachel Heredia, said it began as two small bumps behind Aiden's ear. She took him to a doctor immediately, where it was thought to be a pair of benign cysts. Antibiotics had no effect, so they were surgically removed, and a biopsy diagnosed it as cancer.
Some weeks, Aiden receives two different types of chemotherapy in a single visit. Despite that, he keeps going, for baseball.
"It makes us put everything to the side, while he's out here. You forget about cancer and everything else. Now that he has cancer, these games and practices are important," said his mother.
Steven Heredia is the team's coach and Aiden's dad. "I look at him, going through treatment, and then getting ready to come out here and practice. He's teaching me to be strong. That's the thing he's taught me. To keep going and be strong."
His family has t-shirts and wrist bands in support of his fight. A Facebook page, Aiden's All Star Team, includes video messages of support from Astros players Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Other MLB players have also sent videos encouraging the young boy who dreams of one day catching or pitching in the major leagues.
When asked which team he'd like to play on, he said, "Houston Astros," with a big smile.
His father believes his son's story is spreading because of the message.
"It teaches you to fight, and not sweat the small stuff. It also proves that baseball is special. It's a brotherhood and other players have your back. You're not alone," Steven said.
Aiden is also getting baseball hats from other school teams around the state. Every time he goes to chemotherapy, he wears one, to help get him through his session. It's a reminder that he'll be back on the field.
His condition has restricted him from playing games, but it hasn't affected his practice with the team. He bats and runs bases.
"I believe that Aiden's providing a testimony to all of us to fight your way through adversity," his mother said. "God's given him a purpose. Look at him, he's my hero," she said, as she watched him Sunday from the dugout. "I tell him to hit the ball and knock cancer over the fence."
Aiden turns eight next month, and the family's church has a benefit and a birthday party planned for him.
His family has a gofundme account to help with medical expenses, called "Strike out cancer WITH Aiden."
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