HOUSTON – By Kim Rogers - Staff
Diehard Astros fans Joseph Fleming and his family can be found at every game. His stepfather says, “If there’s a game on, [they’re] watching it. There’s no doubt about it."
But recently, the 10-year-old athlete from League City was diagnosed with a rare cancer in his liver and lungs. Now, family and friends are looking for a way to make his time in a hospital bed as memorable as possible. They’re dreaming big, seeking a way for the young fan to meet his Astros idols.
According to his stepfather, Jeremiah Price, Joseph was diagnosed Friday with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). As of right now, they don’t know of a cure, but the family is transferring him from Texas Children’s Hospital to MD Anderson for more information.
Health problems have never gotten in Joseph’s way before though. He was born with cirrhosis of the liver, but it hasn’t kept him off the baseball field. Price said he started with Little League at 3 years old, and now there's "not a time when you can catch his mom without a baseball in her purse, so he can play catch with somebody."
Joseph is a member of the Texas Blue Chips, a select baseball team, and his teammates visited him in the hospital Monday to lend their support.
"There was a full on baseball game going on in the hospital,” Price said.
The boy's old little league coach and family friend, Billy Flagel, came up with the dream of getting an Astros player into the hospital room. Joseph's top three players are George Springer, Carlos Correa and José Altuve, but Flagel said Springer is his favorite, and he even has a Springer jersey. Flagel believes a visit from them would mean the world to Joseph.
“He’s still a normal kid, still very much playing in the hallway with his baseball buddies,” Price said.
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers replied to the KPRC 2 tweet about Joseph's story saying that they would make it happen.