In just two months, the Chattanooga Miracle League will begin its inaugural season, giving those with special needs the chance to play baseball on a team and field designed just for them. It's a concept that has been life-changing for 11-year-old Jerry Bruce Hennon, who is known as the local "Superman."
Jerry Bruce was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare heart condition where you are born with half of a heart, and your left side is not as functional as your right side." Three days after birth, Jerry Bruce suffered a stroke that complicated things even more. In order to live he would eventually need a heart transplant, and after a series of minor strokes last year, it needed to happen soon.
"It was shell shocking to me when the doctor said why don't you meet with the transplant team," says Lisa Hennon, Jerry Bruce's mom. "Because looking at him from the outward appearance, he did have a larger belly, but other than that he wasn't blue, he wasn't labored breathing, he looked healthy and normal. But on the inside, he's not."
Jerry Bruce spent 67 days in the hospital for the transplant surgery, but when he left, he had a new heart and his new nickname.
"That's how I got the name Superman because I didn't whine" Jerry Bruce explains. "I don't want to say at all because I did. I told some people that when you go through it God's giving you a second chance, that he's ruining your life, but he's not."
Jerry Bruce hasn't been able to return to the miracle league since his surgery, but he plans on being a cheerleader this season.
"You can follow your dreams and be anything you want and that's what I think this miracle field is about," says Jerry Bruce. "Just being a part of this makes me feel that it's something bigger and that's truly amazing for something that I never thought I would be able to do. "
If you are interested in participating or volunteering for the Miracle League of Chattanooga, you can find more information here.