FedEx Team Member’s Daughter Meets Bryce Harper and Appears on ESPN
Ed King, a worldwide sales account manager with FedEx, remembers the day his 16-year-old daughter was admitted to the children’s hospital for a kidney transplant.
“The nurses in the heart and kidney unit couldn’t believe they didn’t know her,” Ed said. “Usually someone with her condition is in and out of the hospital, but she never was. She was a miracle baby.”
Kaylan King was born with only one functioning kidney. Doctors noticed that her left kidney had shifted to the right side and developed multiple cysts. To make matters worse, they had trouble locating Kaylan’s other kidney, which was hidden behind the cysts. She was rushed to the children’s hospital in downtown Washington, D.C. for more tests.
Kaylan was eventually cleared and sent home with her parents. Despite her rare medical condition, Ed’s miracle baby defied the odds and lived a normal life for many years. She took an interest in softball at an early age, and it grew into a passion.
“I played tee ball and started fast pitch when I was 8,” Kaylan said. “I’m good at it. That makes it fun.”
Kaylan is very good. She made her high school’s varsity softball team as a freshman.
As she was set to begin the 2015 season as the starting right fielder, life threw Kaylan another curve ball. Her potassium levels reached dangerous levels, and an immediate kidney transplant was the only option.
“I remember being in a team meeting in Dallas,” Ed said. “I was excited to hear the next special guest presenter, FedEx Office CEO Brian Philips. I got the call about Kaylan and was really shaken up. My boss told me to go home to be with my family.”
Although she missed the entire 2015 season, Kaylan battled back from the surgery and turned her focus to the 2016 season. It wasn’t easy as visits to the hospital became a routine part of her life. She takes 24 pills a day and will eventually require another transplant.
Shortly after the kidney transplant operation, Kaylan’s family contacted Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic, an organization that grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. Make-A-Wish representatives asked her what she would do if she could do anything imaginable. Kaylan didn’t hesitate to respond.
“I wanted to meet Bryce Harper,” Kaylan said. “He’s my favorite player, and I’ve been watching the (Washington) Nationals for five years straight now.”
Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic invited Kaylan to speak at their annual Evening of Wishes gala in Washington, D.C. She knew then that they were working on her wish to meet the reigning National League Most Valuable Player. She didn’t know that ESPN would be involved.
While speaking at the gala, Kaylan was surprised by a special message from none other than Harper himself. The Nationals right fielder invited Kaylan to spend the day with him. She also learned that ESPN would document the activities as part of the 10th Anniversary of its “My Wish” series.
“I didn’t hear anything because I was crying through the whole thing, so I don’t really know what happened (in the video),” Kaylan said.
Kaylan spent a special day in July playing catch with Harper, getting hitting tips from the Nationals’ coaching staff and throwing out the first pitch before a game against the Cincinnati Reds.
You can see it all here, as brought to you by Make-A-Wish and ESPN: http://espn.go.com/espnw/video/17105275/bryce-harper-makes-kaylan-dream-come-true