Meet Riley Rhoden, the Cancer Survivor and One-Armed Tee-Ball Player
Despite losing an arm to cancer, 6-year-old Riley Rhoden decided to become one of the best Tee-ball players in his league.
When Riley was 2, his mom Rachel noticed a seemingly innocuous mosquito bite on his arm. For some reason, warning bells started ringing over the ordinary-looking mark.
“I mean, my hair would raise every time I would look at it,” she recalled.
Despite her mother’s intuition, she chose to ignore the mark until one night, when Riley crawled into her bed and his pajamas were soaked. When the mother looked down, they were both covered in Riley’s blood.
Riley was diagnosed with a rare malignant tumor. His only hope for survival was to amputate his entire left arm.
“I laid in bed,” the mom recalled. “I said, you know, ‘God, take me instead. Take my arm. You know, please take me instead. Don’t do this to my kid.’ it was the most awful thing I think I have ever experienced.”
Despite his handicap, Riley has been absolutely fearless. When he first woke up from surgery without his left arm, he quickly picked up his monster truck with his legs. Instead of dwelling on his disability, he chose to take advantage of his strengths.
Like any handicap though, things have not been as simple. For one, Riley has always wanted to play Tee-ball, but felt that it was too difficult with only one arm. Fortunately, he saw an online video of a one-armed Japanese baseball player (video below), and decided to learn his technique.
“I throw the ball kind of high, flip my glove off, catch it and throw,” Riley says of his mastered play.
“This season, in probably the third or fourth game, he actually did it in the game and I was like, I was more proud of him doing that than anything else — you know, anything,” the proud mom said.
“Yes, our son has lost so much, but I feel like he sacrificed to show the world. I would definitely classify it as a miracle, and I would say it was God’s plan.”
Watch the incredible video of Riley and the inspirational one-armed Japanese baseball player below.