Playing baseball to take stand for premature babies

- Some Houston college students are coming to the rescue for babies born a bit too soon and you can help as well.

If you simply have a seat at Reckling Park in Rice University on Sunday, you'll actually be taking a stand for babies born prematurely.

”She could fit in my hand," explains Vania Thompson, a mother to twin preemies. "She was like that big.” 

"Seeing a baby twelve inches long isn’t normal," adds Vania’s husband Ed. "It was a lot of mixed emotions. I didn’t know if I should cry, if I should smile.” The Thompsons had no idea if their twin babies, born fourteen weeks early, would survive.

"Maddison was one pound, thirteen ounces and Morgan was two pounds,” says Vania. This couple is not alone. Mackenzie, the baby daughter of Vincent and Erin Sinisi, was born weeks early and died days after her birth. Vincent, a former Rice University Owls baseball player, and his wife started the non-profit charity Baseball for Babies.

”Hopefully, one day, ending premature births altogether,” says former Major League Baseball player Philip Humber, who was Vincent's teammate at Rice. Humber and Sinisi will be in the stands on Sunday at 1 p.m. for the Rice University baseball game. A portion of Sunday's ticket sales will be donated to Baseball for Babies.

"They’re going to have a table with autographed items from several major league players to raffle off," says Humber with a smile. "It’s going to be a fun event.”

In 2012, Humber threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox. His autographed customized cleats are being auctioned on MLB.com. 

”So if you’re interested in a neat piece of history, all the proceeds will go to Baseball for Babies,” says Humber.

“Baseball for Babies helps the hospitals be able to support pre-term babies," says Vania. "It helps hospitals and doctors be able to come up with more technology and research.”

The Thompson family is proof that coming together for preemies can make a difference. The now-healthy 17-month-old twin girls will throw out the first pitch at the game on Sunday. 

”They may run with the ball but we’re going to try to get them to throw it,” says Mrs. Thompson with a laugh. 

Perhaps you'll be there on Sunday to witness it. Rice University will take on University of Texas at San Antonio at around 1 p.m. Learn more about the non-profit organization Baseball for Babies at https://baseballforbabies.org/.

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