For Boston Marathon bombing survivor Karen Rand, Saturday's experience at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago was one she will absolutely never forget. Prior to the Chicago White Sox game against the Oakland Athletics, Rand, who had her left leg amputated below the knee following the horrific attack on April 15, was given the honor of throwing out the game's ceremonial first pitch.
It was a very cool scene and an even better feeling to be sure, but it's how Rand received the opportunity that makes her experience even more remarkable and memorable.
While recovering from her injuries just days after the attack, Rand was one of the many patients who received a visit from President Barack Obama. During their relatively brief exchange, Rand's boyfriend, Kevin McWatters, mentioned their planned trip to Chicago. The President then wished her well in her recovery and added to make sure they had a nice trip. He then took at least one incredible step to make sure that happened by contacting the White Sox organization and asking them to invite Rand down to the ballpark.
The White Sox obliged, and an awesome afternoon ensued.
"I actually didn't expect this," Rand said. "This is overwhelming sitting here and being on this field and having people come over. It's been great. I'm really excited and it's been a fun day for us.
"I thought we'd be in the box and maybe people would wave. I didn't know what to expect but not this. This is amazing. We're being treated like royalty and we're really just humble, simple people, so it's really nice for us to be out here. We're really enjoying it."
Among the players Rand met on the field were White Sox outfielder Alex Rios and A's outfielders Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp. As a Red Sox fan herself — a loyalty she will respectively hold despite the White Sox incredible gesture — she was particularly excited to meet Crisp because he spent three seasons in Boston from 2006-2008.
The story is tremendous with or without the involvement of the President. However, that he was involved and actually went out of his way to make sure her trip was memorable makes it an incredible story. One that very few others can say they've experienced with a person in his powerful position on such a personal level.