Sean McField is getting community support in his attempt to save his eye.
McField, 16, is a promising Caymanian baseball player battling keratoconus, a degenerative eye disorder which causes structural changes in the cornea, bulges out the eye and leads to vision problems. Locally-based humanitarian foundation Acts of Random Kindness stepped in to help cover the costs associated with his treatments abroad, by doing fundraising activities like a yoga class.
Tara Nielson is a representative for ARK and said private donations have allowed her group, which marks seven years in existence next month, to help McField.
“ARK wants to thank the Cayman private sector; individuals and corporations for generously and continually funding ARK and their endeavours,” Neilson said. “Without their support, ARK would not be in a position to assist, in a moment’s notice, with cases such as Sean. ARK was able to provide sorely needed funds for his surgery. ARK’s wish is to be a vital part of changing lives, one life at a time and be in perpetual paying-it-forward motion.”
The group is slated to cover McField’s treatment, with expenses estimated at around $8,000. The son of Latoya McField (nee Whittaker) and Chistopher McField has been dealing with the disease since last year and has made trips abroad for treatment at US hospitals.
The young man recently underwent a cornea cross-linking treatment to try to stop the progression of the condition. He has lost 90 percent of his vision in his right eye and will need more treatments overseas.
McField has been playing baseball locally for about seven years, starting from age nine. It is a family affair as mom Latoya is the program and facilities managing director for the Cayman Islands Little League Association, dad Chris is a volunteer coach and umpire and younger brother Shomar also plays.
McField is a first baseman, nicknamed “Big Papi”, who competed for the association’s 2010 travel team that competed in Humacao, Puerto Rico in the Caribbean regional qualifiers for the Little League World Series. His impact on the diamond is clear as coaches and officials all rave about his sportsmanship.
“Sean loves playing baseball, he is a dedicated player that enjoys the game and I’ve almost never seen him upset during a game,” said Jim Parham, a former association president who handles umpiring duties. “He takes the game in stride and gives it his best when on the field for a game or practice. He always shows sportsmanship during and after the game.”
“I never coached a team that Sean was on, but coached teams in the same division, as my son and Sean are the same age,” said local hockey legend Norm Klein. “I can say that he very clearly loved baseball. I do remember he put pressure on himself if he didn’t think he had performed well enough – either hitting or playing first – he is probably harder on himself than any coach was on him. He is generally quiet and well mannered. He just played the game and had fun. He’s a gentle giant and a good sport.”
“Sean became so well known for his big bat that people would ask his mom which field he was playing on, so as to not park cars there,” said Sara Mackay, who is the association’s marketing and public relations officer. “He loves all things baseball, including the Boston Red Sox. For those without a baseball background, the real “Big Papi” is David Ortiz, the Red Sox all-star and MVP of the recent World Series.
“He is a big, handsome guy also from the Caribbean. Sean not only looks like Big Papi but seems a kindred spirit. Again, big thanks to ARK for their support of this fine young man in a tough position.”