Rockies outfielder Connor Joe wanted to make a child’s sixth birthday just a little brighter. If only there had been one more day.
After his battle with testicular cancer in 2020, Joe has always been looking to give back to those who are struggling with illness. During Spring Training, Joe met a little boy from Erie, Colo., Kamden Jones, who was in a battle with brain cancer but was well enough from the treatments to make the trip to Scottsdale, Ariz.
Joe became Kam’s favorite player.
Joe held Kam in even higher regard.
The family had taken to social media, and support for the #warriorkam project was generous. And while in Scottsdale, Kam met Joe and presented him with the little rubber bracelet. Joe vowed to wear it. Through Joe’s excellent start to the season, the bracelet could be seen by fans everywhere.
“When I met him in Arizona, he was really, really shy,” Joe said. “But just hearing through his mom what he said after that interaction in that encounter, how happy that made him and how he’d always want to watch the games and look for his bracelet … he’s a 5-year-old kid. Seeing the bracelet that he made and he gifted me on TV, it was pretty special for him. Just hearing through his mom how much he looked forward to seeing me on TV and seeing the bracelet on TV, it was cool.”
Joe was moved by the messages from Kam’s family, by the pictures of Kam sleeping with Joe’s autographed jersey and his baseball bat by his side.
A few days ago, Joe planned a personal gift through Kam’s mother.
“We were in Philly and I sent him a video saying, ‘Happy Birthday … I look up to you,’” Joe said. “But she responded and said, ‘Thank you for this, but to let you know he passed away.’ He passed the day before his birthday.
“I told her I’ll do whatever I can do to help you out. She said the family is coming here to a ballgame. I’ll try to get them out here and talk to them.”
Joe will continue to wear the bracelet and hopes to do something soon in Kam’s honor.
“Through ‘Make a Wish,’ I was trying to gift him a wish,” Joe said. “I obviously didn’t make that happen because of the timing. They’re going to use Kamden’s wish to provide a Superhero Day at the Children’s Hospital and give out superhero stuff.”
Joe pushes on for Kamden, but he is shaken.
“It hit me harder than I expected,” Joe said. “I’ve known him for a month. I met him one time. Just following his story through his mom and seeing pictures of him, being able to connect with him and send him stuff, we built that connection and building that relationship.
“His mom is thanking me, but I feel the other way. I’m grateful for him impacting my life.”