Cal State Fullerton baseball welcomed its youngest member to the team Monday evening at Goodwin Field.
Coben Swanson, an 8-year-old boy diagnosed with T-cell ALL leukemia, according to his family’s Facebook page, signed a letter of commitment that would make him a bona fide member of the Titan baseball family.
“He has all these brothers, all 35 of us to support him in this fight,” said right fielder Ruben Cardenas.
Third baseman Taylor Bryant said the team has known Swanson for about a month and wanted to make him feel like a part of the team.
“We’re in the fight with him,” Bryant said.
Swanson had been to practices and other social events, but the signing made his induction into the Titan
family official, said left-hander John Gavin.
“He loves running the bases. He loves throwing the ball around and just putting a smile on his face is what we strive to do each time he comes out here,” Gavin said.
Swanson’s duties as a Titan team member include coming out to practices as often as he can, Gavin said. Swanson is vulnerable to germs around the field, but Gavin said the team does everything they can to make sure that the environment is as clean as possible.
“I love who he is as a person. I love the family. It’s really changed my life,” Cardenas said. “He’s just an amazing kid.”
Some members of the team have made it a point to spend extra time with Swanson, visiting him at his house to play games or having dinner with the whole Swanson family.
“It’s been an opportunity of a lifetime and I’m super grateful and humbled by this experience,” Bryant said.
Gavin was also humbled by Swanson. He said there are so many things that college students complain about and that Swanson’s story served as a reminder to put things in perspective.
“There’s a lot more problems in this world than just taking a couple of midterms and having practice,” Gavin said.
Swanson’s story came to Titan baseball through Team IMPACT, a program that connects teams with children facing serious illnesses. Second baseman Tristan Hildebrandt said that when the team heard about Swanson, they jumped on the chance to meet him.
“We couldn’t wait to meet him. We couldn’t wait to hear his story and learn more about him,” Hildebrandt said.
The Swanson family has taken to social media so others can show Coben support through Facebook and Instagram.
TeamCoben has served as an outlet on both social media sites where people can get updates on Swanson’s road to recovery along with a link to his GoFundMe page.
After Swanson signed his letter of commitment, he was asked what it meant to be a Titan.
“It means that I can practice doing home runs,” Swanson said.