Cystic fibrosis forces teen to watch from the sidelines
Thursday, May 02, 2013 11:00 AM
Christopher Goodin took the mound Wednesday evening at Trimble County High School's new field, got set, reared back and fired to the plate.
Christopher Goodin, 16, talks about his wait for a double-lung transplant, necessitated by his cystic fibrosis. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
The umpire signaled a strike as the crowd roared its approval.
It was the 16-year-old's night, after all.
Christopher, who has cystic fibrosis and is in need of a double-lung transplant, was making his first appearance on the diamond in quite some time. His ceremonial first pitch marked the middle of an already long fundraising effort between Trimble and Carroll baseball teams to help Christopher and his family with medical expenses.
"I miss it a lot, not being able to play. It's one of the things that I probably miss most," Christopher said. "I've played with these guys since I was 5."
Cystic fibrosis is a disorder that affects several organs in the body, primarily the lungs.
The disease has taken full effect on Christopher over the last several months. He's been in the hospital for long durations almost each month, typically staying for two weeks at a time, and he now depends on an oxygen tank to breathe.
Since October 2012, Christopher's lung capacity has gone from 48 percent down to 28 percent. Between his cystic fibrosis and diabetes, he takes about 60 pills each day.
The severity of his condition has put him at the top of the donor list.
"They said they've already turned down three sets of lungs because they were not perfect enough," said his mother, Jennifer Goodin, who used to teach English at Trimble County High School. "So, he's next. And once they get it, we'll go."
"It could come right now," said Christopher's younger sister, Elisabeth, who is 11 years old and also has cystic fibrosis.
Once the call comes, Christopher will have the procedure in Lexington. The treatment and recovery process will be a lengthy and costly one for the family.
To help out, all funds raised from Wednesday night's admission costs went directly to the Goodins. And during the game, the school provided gift baskets from different school teams and organizations as part of a silent auction. Before the game, which Carroll County won 7-3 in extra innings, the Trimble and Carroll coaches got together and decided they wanted to do something special for Christopher.
Both schools have a special connection to the family.
Carroll coach Jimmy Ray works with Christopher's father, Keith, at Dow Corning Corp. in Carrollton. And Keith Goodin also served as the Trimble assistant coach for several years.
During the game, both teams donned T-shirts that read "Just Breathe," a common phrase used between those with cystic fibrosis. Banners filled with encouraging messages from community members and classmates also hung from the scorer's box and concession stand.
Christopher has been around baseball all his life. And it shows.
"He was physically limited in what he could do, but as far as his knowledge of the game and fundamentals, he's second to none," said Trimble coach Frank Ragland. "It's just unreal."
Last year, Christopher was named the most valuable player during an area tournament for those 15 and under. He typically plays infield.
But now his immune system is so compromised that he had to withdraw from school and take classes online. He also can't be around a lot of people, but this Saturday, after being released from another long stay in the hospital, Christopher made it to prom.
"It was awesome," he said. "I expected to have a lot fun and I did."
Christopher's aunt, Amanda Brewer has taken the lead in creating the foundation, Christopher's Second Wind, to help raise money for the transplant costs.
"She's really worked hard to set up the foundation," Jennifer Goodin said. "I don't know what I'd do without her."
"When we started this, no one realized that Christopher and Elisabeth were as sick as they were," Brewer said.
Brewer said part of the foundation is to help raise awareness about Christopher's and Elisabeth's conditions. She moved back to the area about three years ago and said she has been overwhelmed by the amount of support inside and outside of the community the family has received.
"There is nothing I wouldn't do for that kid. Or my niece" Brewer said. "Family to us is very important. We've raised our children together, supported each other and just always have been there for each other."
Christopher's future goal is become healthy enough to grab a glove and take the field again alongside his friends and teammates. He watched from the dugout during Wednesday's game, and even took a short jog out to home plate to congratulate teammate Conner Beard on a solo home run.
"I want to get out there and be able to play again," he said.