Giving Back

Sixth Annual Kyle Kramer Baseball Game Promotes GVHD Awareness

Kyle Kramer 6th Annual Baseball Game Credits: Bobbie Peer
Kyle with his dad, Bob Kramer. Credits: Bobbie Peer

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -  A perfect night to play ball for a meaningful cause. The sixth annual Kyle Kramer Baseball Game was held on Sunday, Sept. 29 at Snyder Field.  The Mets defeated the Yankees by a score of 7-4 in this friendly spirited game. 

“We, as a group, decided when Kyle got sick back when he was in fifth grade, that we would continue to keep Kyle in our thoughts and play this Kyle Kramer fundraiser baseball game every year until Kyle was back to his normal self.  Now, 20 to 25 guys get together, Mets vs Yankees, and play this game to make sure to continue to keep Kyle in our thoughts,” Doug Reinstein said.

Kyle welcomed the group of dads and friends to play ball.  “Thank all of you for coming out, I know a lot of people are busy, but it does really mean a lot to me and thank you.” 

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The Yankees jumped out to a 3-0 lead by tagging Met starter Jeff Garrigan for three quick runs.  However, the Mets opened it up in the bottom of the 5th inning by scoring five runs off Yankee starter Dave Martis. Jeff Garrigan, Mike Faller, Dan Serretti and Jason Schwarz all had key hits leading to the Mets victory.  Met reliever, Mike Erickson, put a stop to the Yankee offense and recorded the first win of his adult career. 
"As in previous years, it was a great day for a great cause," said Reinstein.  “We are glad that we are out here to support Kyle and support the community, that is what being part of the community is all about,” said Jack Reiner.

It has been more than five years since Danny and Kyle Kramer’s bone marrow transplant.  Kyle was diagnosed with AML leukemia when he was in fifth grade. Graph VS Host Disease (GVHD) continues to keep Kyle from the sports he loves. He’s leading the research on a new brace called Ultra Flex. The brace has been used for kids with cerebral palsy and other diseases, but never for GVHD.  “So far, it has been very successful, and we are praying one day he can return to the sports he loves,” said his mother, Heidi Kramer.  Kyle, a junior at Gov. Livingston High School, has the ultimate goal to play a sport his senior year before he graduates.
Kyle played baseball with many of the players’ sons.  “Since Kyle has been diagnosed we have been pitching this game. Two words we have always said is ‘For Kyle’. We will continue to do this ‘For Kyle’ and the Kramer family. Our goal is to get Kyle out there on the field with us real soon,” said Vinny Polimeni.  Polimeni’s son, Vinny, was a teammate of Kyle’s and participated in the game.
Drew Shephard, diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma shortly after Kyle, was present for support. Drew, also from Berkeley Heights, met Kyle while being treated at the same hospital. "It is a very unique friendship, not one that a lot of kids get to have. It’s a special bond, something that we will have for the rest of our life.  Our families are very close, it struck up a really nice friendship and support system,” said Shephard.
“It is great that every year we get so many people to come out for a worthy cause.  Kyle is a great kid and he has been through so much.  It is the least we can do for him. We are happy to continue to do for as long as we need to.  Hopefully, we won’t need to do it anymore as he gets better,” said Jeff Garrigan.
To learn more about Graft Versus Host Disease, visit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Website. Awareness and research is necessary.

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