Gabe Ford to Throw First Pitch at Washington Nationals Game
Former Fenton resident invited to game against Atlanta Braves by Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
Former Fenton resident Gabe Ford has been working on her pitching arm.
When Ford moved to Viera, FL in March, she happened to move into the same complex that Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez lives in during spring training.
Gonzalez met Ford and became inspired by her story of overcoming a degenerative neuro-muscular disorder and speaking out against bullying across the country.
He invited Ford to Washington D.C. to throw out the first pitch of Friday's game against the Atlanta Braves and stand alongside him as the team makes an announcement about the pitcher's new foundation. Gonzalez told Ford he wanted to help her raise money to help her spread the message.
"It's exciting, I think the atmosphere will be very electrifying when I am on the field with Gio," Ford said. "I am suppose to be throwing the first ball, and I am worried I won't be able to throw the ball very good with my disability but, I'll do the best I can. I have been practicing."
She will be joined by Washington D.C students she will be speaking to prior to the game.
Ford has also received a Gonzales autographed baseball and tickets when the Nationals visited the Miami Marlins earlier this season.
Ford suffers from Friedriech's Ataxia, a debilitating, life-shortening, degenerative neuro-muscular disorder that weakens the body's muscles, which can make even speaking difficult. Ford endured years of bullying before teaming up with her dog Izzy to travel to schools across the county spreading the message that unlike her disease and many others, bullying is a choice.
Her message has reached many as she has has appeared in Animal Planet’s A Pet Story, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Today Show, Guideposts Magazine, and MDA’s Quest Magazine. She also has an award-winning memoir titled Still Dancing. Delta Kappa Gamma also recently awarded Ford with the The Distinguished Service Award.
"My many years of speaking out against school bullying has been an interesting journey and who would have ever guessed I would be honored," Ford said. "I have done my best to help many. I have came a long way from when I first began speaking out. Going out and being seen in front of thousands -- I would not have been willing to do that years ago because I was ashamed of myself."