Kassandra Rivera got a chance to do something most people never will.
The 11 year old from Astoria threw out the first pitch at a Mets game on Monday, June 18, in honor of the 10th anniversary of Starlight Night at Citi Field.
Rivera, born with cerebral palsy, was one of the 300 Starlight children and their families who attended that night’s Mets match-up against the Orioles. Aside from the game, they also got tfo enjoy a buffet and some clowns – and to show their fan-pride for the Mets.
“I felt honored and a little nervous going out there in front of thousands and thousands of people, but I felt honored because I’m representing my team,” said Rivera. “I threw my first ball and I’m really happy.”
Thirteen-year-old Broadway star Carly Rose Sonenclar, who sang the National Anthem, was there to support the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which “brings together experts from pediatric health care, technology and entertainment to create programs that help brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families.”
For this year’s event, the Mets donated over 800 tickets and ARAMARK donated food to give to each guest.
Elaine Siver, executive director of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, was overjoyed at the sight of the children having a great time watching a baseball game with their families.
“It’s probably one of the best events that we do,” she said. “It’s a blast and we are so proud of our sponsorship, our partnership with the Mets. They’re kind and very generous with Starlight.”
Of Starlight’s mission, she said, “When you experience [things] through [the children’s] eyes, it’s really joyous to see, [especially since] we can certainly make their lives better.”