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4-year-old cancer patient hits home run with heart

Brent Briggeman/US Air Force Academy
Brent Briggeman/US Air Force Academy

(DENVER) — Footage of a 4-year-old’s slow jog to home plate during a college baseball game may be the most adorable thing you’ll see.

The video shows Lio Ortega, 4, who is fighting brain cancer, making a dash with the help of his sister Ariadne around the bases while being deterred from running into the dugout.

Lio had been invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and hit the first ball prior to a May 12 baseball game in Colorado between the University of New Mexico (UNM) Lobos and the Air Force Academy.

Lio’s father, Manuel Ortega, who played for the UNM Lobos during his years in junior college, said his son became a fan of the team and would wear Lobos gear that the head coach would send him while the boy underwent chemotherapy treatments.

“The hardest thing for us is…how do we maximize his time to give him great experiences?” Ortega of Colorado Springs told ABC News. “This was one of those [experiences] because he loves baseball. He plays on a little league team, he loves the big kids, he loves the college kids. He wants to be one of them.

“He says, ‘I’m going to play with the Lobos.'”

The Air Force and UNM arranged the occasion for Lio and his family. About 100 were in attendance.

“Everybody was crying, everybody was laughing,” Ortega said. “It was just overwhelming. [Lio] had a great time and as you could see, it was a hoot. When he gets to do things like this, it makes him happy because he’s with his family.”

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