SARASOTA, Fla. (WJZ) — Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini is playing baseball again after a yearlong battle with colon cancer, and his return has made national headlines.
The standing ovation Mancini got in his first spring training at-bat brought him to the brink of tears, and those closest to him shared every bit of the emotion.READ MORE: Standing Ovation For Trey Mancini, Singles At First-Bat In Orioles Spring Training
Mancini’s mom Beth and dad Tony were in the stands for their son’s triumphant return.
“It was more emotional than I thought it would be when I pulled into the parking lot. It was just a reality that we were back and this was real and there was going to be a game today. It’s just a dream come true after everything he’s been through,” Beth said.
Mancini’s girlfriend Sara Perlman also attended the game to applaud his return. She cried at the ballpark knowing firsthand what he had been through to get back to baseball.
“I think watching him today and over the last year just proves what an awesome, incredible human being he is,” Perlman said. “He had some of the worst days I’ve seen someone go through and he always kept his head held up high.”READ MORE: Orioles' Trey Mancini Back On Field For Spring Training Nearly One Year After Cancer Diagnosis
Tony said he’s proud of the way his son has handled the ups and downs of the past year.
“I’m proud of the way that he took this situation that he was dealt and it’s for a reason. We all have to believe that everything in life is for a reason. And he’s turning it into something good,” he said.
The “good” that came of his cancer battle, Mancini said, is the opportunity to inspire others who are diagnosed with cancer.
“A lot of people helped me out through my journey,” he said. “Now… being able to inspire other people and help other people is what I see as returning the favor and something I want to do.”
Mancini plans to take his mission beyond promoting cancer awareness. His foundation is also dedicated to feeding needy schoolchildren in Baltimore through the “Blessings in a Backpack” program.