Janesville woman with brain tumor throws out first pitch at Miller Park
The first pitch delivered from the mound at Miller Park on Friday night was not a strike, nor did it reach 40 mph.
Still, it was the most emotional delivery of the night.
Janesville's Lexie Seaver threw the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Brewers and Dodgers.
“No, not quite,” she said when asked if it was a strike. “I got the distance, but it wasn't a strike.”
In the big picture, it didn't matter. Seaver knows that better than most.
Seaver was on the mound thanks to the work of Scott Bordwell, one of the founders of “Chasing Chad,” which raises money for the Brain Tumor Research Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center.
Just two weeks ago, the 29-year-old Seaver was told the brain cancer she beat once has returned.
The first time, Seaver was diagnosed with Stage 4 astrocytoma—the worst diagnosis—and a grapefruit-size tumor was removed. She lost her hair, but not her spirit.
Seaver beat the cancer by building a strong support system of friends. In June, she earned her associate degree from UW-Rock County.
About that time, she began to have dizzy spells. Seaver was hesitant to have a checkup.
When she did, her worst fears were confirmed. Three or four spots were detected on her brain. Surgery is not an option.
Doctors told Seaver she has a year to live, with treatment.
Without treatment, the prognosis is three to six months.
When she meets with her surgeon and doctors next week about plans for treatment, Seaver is leaning toward forgoing the draining chemotherapy and radiation.
“Unless they knock me out with something, I think I'm going the natural route,” she said. “I'm going for quality of life.”
Seaver plans to take supplements and other naturopathic remedies.
Her positive glow and ever-present smile are facing another test.
“Physically, I feel fine,” she said. “Emotionally, not so much.”
One of the items on her bucket list is to attend a Packers game with three members of her family.
Bordwell and the Chasing Chad team are working on that. In the meantime, a member was able to secure four tickets behind home plate to Friday night's Brewers game, along with the opportunity for Seaver to throw the ceremonial first pitch.
The Chasing Chad team was formed in December 2009 to help Janesville's Chad Bordwell in his battle with brain cancer. Chad died a short time later, but the group continues to raise money with runs and other fund-raisers.
Chasing Chad recently helped pay the lodging expenses of a local family that had to spend time in Boston, where a family member was undergoing treatment.
The group's latest event was the Sundown Dash in Monterey Park on July 30. Seaver participated and spoke to the crowd about her experience.
A few days later, she was told that her cancer had returned.
“She reached out for us,” Scott Bordwell said of her moving speech at the Sundown Dash. “Now, we're putting it in high gear to help her out.”
So there she was Friday night, throwing a ball in front of the crowd in rapidly filling Miller Park. Watching from the stands were her mother, sister, brother, her brother's girlfriend and Lexie's good friend Major Masech.
Her pitch matched neither the accuracy nor the velocity of those thrown moments later by Brewers starter Kyle Lohse.
It didn't matter. Lexie Seaver, although nervous, delivered it with a smile.
That's the way it's going to be.
Tom Miller is a page designer/sports writer for The Gazette.