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Monday, November 21, 2016

Breaking News! Albert Pujols Meets Me, Daniel in Israel!

In a bit of breaking news from this side of the world, baseballl star Albert Pujols, three-time MVP and 10-time All-Star, met me yesterday in Jerusalem!

He scooped me up as if I were a hanging curve ball
begging to be launched into the bleachers.
Here I am, sandwiched by amazingness! Dee Dee and Albert Pujols!
And he didn't just meet me and shake my hand, but he scooped me up in his arms and requested someone take a few photos with me. Yes, folks, you read this right. It's not everyday that someone gets to meet famed baby blogger Daniel, but this legendary baseball player did and he recognized greatness when he saw it. Which is probably what makes him great!

The truth is, despite my spin on this situation, I was absolutely enthralled with my new hero. As soon as I got back to school after this amazing encounter, I ran around with mommy's phone showing everyone the pictures of us together. And honestly, it wasn't just Albert, but the true powerhouse of the family, Dee Dee, who stole my heart.

This power-hitting duo bring life wherever they go. All MLB stats aside, here is the real reason  Albert Pujols is my hero: He and Dee Dee are always helping and advocating for people with Down syndrome, a cause close to my heart for genetic reasons. While most people are looking for ways to bring an “end to DS” through detection before birth, the Pujols are trying to help those of us with Trisomy 21 to lead better lives and to help us fit more aptly into the accepted version of society.

I think that is amazing. They know about such challenges firsthand: The Pujols’ eldest daughter, Isabella, is 18 and has Down syndrome.

The couple visited Shalva National Children’s Center in Jerusalem yesterday. Shalva is my old stomping grounds. And being one of the few Christian graduates of the program, I had the honor of welcoming and hosting the Pujols, who are also Christians.

About 40 percent of Shalva’s participants have Down syndrome. The new 200,000-square-foot  center, where I will probably return for the after-school gram in a year or two, includes an inclusive park for all types of children.

The Pujols weren't content with just touring Shalva: Albert gave a 5-minute batting clinic to two participants as well. And several autographs. And made several children and quite a few adults (such as my parents) very happy!

Can you see my shirt? "Future MVP" standing with former MVP!
"And a good day was had by all." Go Pujols!

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