Zion Kinlaw, 10, of Wilmington, N.C., catches the first pitch thrown by Chase Jones at the UNC vs. Duke Baseball game at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Photo by Justin Cook.
CHAPEL HILL, NC — On Saturday, March 26, ten-year-old UNC pediatric neurosurgery patient Zion Kinlaw, of Wilmington, N.C., caught the first pitch as the UNC Tar Heels men's baseball team took on Duke at Boshamer Stadium.
In addition, Zion presented a $10,000 check during a pre-game ceremony to his pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Victor Perry, which represents proceeds from the “Blue on the Brain” fundraising effort Zion and his family undertook to raise money and awareness for UNC’s Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery.
After experiencing nausea and headaches, Zion, an aspiring baseball catcher, was diagnosed with a brain cyst last October. Although non-cancerous, the cyst was located in an extremely dangerous area of Zion’s brain. One week later, he and his family traveled from Wilmington to UNC Hospitals for surgery to remove the cyst.
On a visit to the hospital prior to his surgery, Zion and his mother, Jennifer Kinlaw, visited Boshamer Stadium. By chance, they met UNC Assistant Baseball Coach Scott Jackson, who then introduced Zion to the team. Members of the team and coaching staff visited Zion regularly in the hospital after his surgery. Zion is now on his way to a full recovery and looks forward to playing baseball again this spring. The UNC baseball team invited him to catch the first pitch to celebrate his recovery.