Jun. 3—OXFORD — Cael Baker would love to hit a few home runs in the Oxford Regional this weekend.
Whether he does or doesn’t, his random act of kindness hit home with a young girl and her family at the SEC Tournament last week in Alabama.
As Ole Miss players were warming up prior to a Wednesday night game against Vanderbilt, Baker gave a loose ball to one of many kids playing near the left field foul line.
In return, young Henry Giminez gave Baker a rubber bracelet with the words ‘Williams Strong’ and asked him to wear it. Giminez was wearing two bracelets to support his friend Bodi Brumfield.
The bracelets were made by the Brumfield family to bring awareness to Williams Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder with which they are very familiar. Bodi’s sister, nine-year-old Harlyn Brumfield, lives with Williams Syndrome, which can affect learning and emotional development among other things.
In fact, the chance to help Harlyn with more educational opportunities in relation to Williams Syndrome is why Buck and Sarah Brumfield moved their family from Natchez to Mountain Brook, Alabama, near Birmingham.
“We’ve been blessed that she doesn’t have extreme problems like some other Williams children do,” Buck Brumfield said.
Baker knew none of this last Wednesday. Putting a rubber bracelet on his wrist was second-nature to him.
“I just put it on because I love wearing bracelets,” Baker said.
He wasn’t the only person to have to Google “Williams Syndrome” after hearing it for the first time.
“We’d never heard of it either. My wife’s a therapist, and I was just getting out of vet school. Before that I was an ER nurse, and even working in health care I’d never heard of it,” Brumfield said.
Baker wore the bracelet against Vanderbilt and against Georgia the next day. Then he started getting text messages about a Facebook post from a man named Brumfield.
“Because of your simple act of kindness I’m sure a lot of people have looked up and learned about Williams Syndrome. You have gained a new fan for life,” Brumfield wrote.
Baker researched Williams Syndrome after reading the post. He was able to meet Harlyn and the Brumfield family last Friday after the second Vanderbilt game.
“The cutest thing happened when she came up to me to talk, and she was so nervous that she just started crying. We ended up taking a couple of pictures and talking to the family a little bit. It was a special moment,” Baker said.
Harlyn composed herself and eventually gave Baker a bag full of bracelets. Many more Ole Miss players were wearing them later in the SEC Tournament and plan to do so again during the Oxford Regional.
“It was a really special moment to me. It made me think about more than playing baseball,” Baker said. “We’re so grateful and so lucky with the opportunities that we’ve been given. There’s other stuff going on in the world than just us playing baseball. It was really special.”