Softball team remembers toddler whose rare disease took his life

By  | 

WHITESBORO, Tex. (KXII) -- 2-year-old Beckett Spencer was supposed to throw out tonight's first pitch.

The team wanted to help raise awareness of the disease the toddler has fought his whole life.

But Friday, they got devastating news that Beckett would not be able to throw that pitch.

He died that morning.

So they did something special to honor him instead.

"This could happen to anyone and the fact that it happened to someone this small who hadn't had a childhood yet, I just can't imagine what him and his family went through," said Karley Wolf a Whitesboro softball player.

When Beckett's parents noticed some regression in his motor skills and mental state around his first birthday, they took him to the doctor.

He was diagnosed with Leigh's syndrome, which meant his mitochondria did not function properly and did not supply enough power to his body.

Doctors didn't expect him to survive past his third birthday.

So the community immediately jumped into action.

"My best friend Katie Parkes, since I was in fifth grade, we're doing this for her son," said Whitesboro Softball Coach Haley Colwell.

Colwell graduated from S&S High school with Katie, Beckett's mom, and planned a benefit for Friday's Whitesboro and S&S matchup.

"If you want to be Beckett strong, you have to battle through it, even all the hard times, a hundred percent, battle through it all, never give up," said Wolf.

The players immediately jumped on board, even offering to let Beckett throw the first pitch.

But Beckett never got to throw that pitch.

He died just hours before the game.

"They're going through a hard time right now and hopefully they see our support and know that we're with them," said Elly Harper a Whitesboro softball player.

The Whitesboro softball team says Beckett's legacy is the motivation to play harder and enjoy every moment.

"I wanted to make the shirt solely because I preach a lot to my girls about giving back to the community and, you know, being servant leaders to the community that raised you," said Colwell.

A big legacy left by a little boy, one they hope to share by showing what it means to live Beckett Strong.

"Everyone getting together and everyone knows your story and everyone's going to pitch in, it doesn't matter what your background is, everyone wants to help because we're all just one big family,' said Chesney Wolf a Whitesboro softball player.

"Love everybody and be in each moment that you can. Appreciate the time you get with all your family and friends and everything," said Colwell.

The money the team raised will go to Beckett's family and foundations that support research for mitochondrial disease, specifically Leigh's Syndrome, which currently has no cure and minimal treatment options.