Late last night, during the Washington Nationals three-hour, 17-minute rain delay, Ian Desmond’s Indiegogo campaign to End Neurofibromatosis (NF) reached its initial goal of $10,000. It was an exciting moment for a campaign that is only a few days old, but that doesn’t mean it is over. There are still 27 days left to donate to this worthy cause, which includes a number of perks to incentivize your donation. The Nats Blog is proud to be part of this campaign with three other blogs: Nationals 101, Federal Baseball, and District Sports Page.
Yesterday, Frank Lattuca of Nationals 101 posted a great background piece on what NF is. Today, I’m going to tell you how the Nationals All-Star shortstop got involved in the campaign to end NF. In the coming days, Federal Baseball and District Sports Page will provide even more details.
Last week, we had an opportunity to speak with Ian about the campaign to End NF. Below are the details from that interview about how he met Ethan Brown, who was Ian’s inspiration for the campaign.
“I’ll start from the beginning. Back in 2012 my agent was trying to get me on Twitter and at the time I was like, man, that’s the last thing I want to do. After a few days, the company he hired to run it was putting out tweets and I was like, this is not how I want to be portrayed to the public. So I just took it over and hopefully I can do some good with it.
“It started out very slow, kind of learning how to do things. I started following this feed called Unashamed Athletes and a prayer request came across the board this one time for a kid named Ethan Brown. He was talking about how he needed prayers so I just kind of responded back to him, not knowing what his problems were and I just kind of said, hey, keep on going and people out here are praying for you.
“I came to find out he has NF-2 [Neurofibromatosis Type 2], which is a little bit stronger than the regular Neurofibromatosis, probably a little more serious. So we became friends. He lives in South Carolina — he showed up to Atlanta — that was the first time I’d ever met him, at the cage, underneath he stadium with his mom and dad, Rick and Jan. The first time I ever met him we kicked it off.
“I introduced myself to him, I said, ‘Hey you know, I’m Ian’ and shook his hand. He has a tumor on or near his hand or wrist, and I went up to him to shake his hand and he started yelling ‘Ow, ow!” and his mom and dad looked and I freaked out. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, what did you just do?’. I’d never had a relationship with anyone that’s had any tumors growing on their body, but all of the sudden he was just like, ‘I got ya!’.
“So that was when I knew that this kid has got something special… He was in great spirits and he’s been in great spirits from the first day I ever met him until now when this disease is really taking over his life.”
Special thanks to The Nationals Archive and Allan Petersen for getting us involved in this worthy campaign, to Ian Desmond for taking the time to talk to us, to Amanda Comak for setting up the conversation, and to Dave (District Sports Page) and Patrick (Federal Baseball) for completing the interview when Frank (Nationals 101) and I were unavailable.