By Bobby Lewis, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Baseball is a game of inches. One inch can mean the difference between a ball and a strike, a safe and an out. Monday night in Tulsa, one young boy proved that inches can also touch hearts.
"I woke up this morning thinking, this is his day," said Mitchell's mom, Michelle, before Monday night's game. "He will never forget this night."
"He's probably thinking, ‘Wow, I get the first pitch and wow, it's so fun'" Mitchell's older brother, Trenton said. "It will be so amazing."
Amazing is the perfect word to describe Mitchell Cupps. Mitchell turns five years old on August 5th but he's just 27 inches tall. Born with an extremely rare form of dwarfism called Schimke Immuno-osseous Dysplasia, Mitchell has always been at a disadvantage but his parents say he has more energy and passion for life than kids twice his size.
"We were told that he may not live to five years old", said Michelle. "To see him play is phenomenal."
Mitchell's dad, Troy, agrees.
"Mitchell touches the hearts of everyone he sees. Even if you are a grumpy old man, he will make you smile. It's amazing to see him light up people."
This year, Mitchell got the best birthday gift he could ever ask for. Something he never thought he'd be able to do, play in a real baseball game.
"Tonight makes him like everybody else," says Michelle.
"There is nothing better than seeing your kids to what they love to do," said Jeremy Hall, Mitchell's coach on Monday night. "I'm sure (Mitchell's parents') hearts will be warmed by this tonight."
He threw out the first pitch, hit the baseball and ran the bases. He did everything a real baseball player would do. He even scored a run on a night that means just as much to his parents as it did to Mitchell.
"We get to experience this tonight," said Michelle, "and it's truly remarkable.
Trenton Cupps summed up his brother, "He's going to grow up to be the best."
Mitchell's family has provided the following information about Mitchell, his dwarfism and their foundation.
Schimke Immuno-osseous Dysplasia is an extremely rare form of dwarfism. Mitchell's diagnosis is so rare, in fact, that only four others in the United States and approximately 45 in the world are known to have it. Currently, Mitchell is 27 inches tall and weighs 18 pounds. He will turn five on August 5th.
Mitchell may have a little body, but his heart is giant, and he is an all-American kid. He loves Taekwondo, and can break a board with his foot and his fist. He loves to ride his skateboard, his scooter, and his bike. He loves Sponge Bob, Hot Wheels, and Power Rangers.
Mitchell's family and friends established Little Giants Foundation to be a beacon of light and inspiration for others who need information, funding, a hand to hold, and a glimmer of hope that their child's life is not in vain.