HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Rocket City Trash Pandas weren’t able to play any baseball in the Minor Leagues this season.
However, helping countless people within the community has been the added bonus.
Visitors come and go at Toyota Field, home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Elkmont native Ethan Layfield isn’t just any visitor. The 13 year old has overcome more than any teen should endure.
Earlier this year, Ethan needed a liver transplant. You could say medical home run was met in September — that’s when Ethan received a new liver.
All Ethan talked about was wanting to tour the home of the Trash Pandas. His wish was granted.
“You can make real special moments for real special people,” Rocket City Trash Pandas CEO Ralph Nelson said. “I know that Ethan, during his entire recuperation process and after the transplant, said he wanted to see the Trash Panda ballpark. And when I heard about it I thought that it was the right thing to do.”
Ethan was able to tour the locker rooms, concessions stands, press boxes, and even tried on the mascot uniform of the Trash Pandas mascot Sprocket for the day.
“The last few days he’s been a totally new kid,” Ethan’s father Shane Layfield said. “He’s singing and dancing, he just walked around this whole Toyota Field with a smile on his face. It just means so much to me and his momma just to know that he’s OK and we don’t have to worry about him anymore.”
From worry, to joy at a ballpark. Ethan Layfield and his family are happy to be heading toward home plate and the road to recovery, as well as a great life ahead.
“You know when we first got here we said that we wanted to become part of the community,” Ralph Nelson added. “And it’s days like this that make you feel really good.”