I'm sorry to announce that Norm passed this morning 7/31/2009 at approximately 10:30AM. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words.
Please leave a message for Norm, Lindsay & Clay or Pete & Donna below the story.
I don't normally post blogs that are not Media Center or Security related. But I had to write this blog about Clay Buchholz and the great thing he and his fiancee Lindsay Clubine did for a very sick old man.
My wife is a nurse who works for a Hospice service, she travels around visiting and checking in on patients who are extremely sick. Very few live longer than a few months.
One of her patients, Norman, is a WWII veteran who fought in the "Battle of the Bulge". He has very few family and doesn't have visitors often. Norman is about 90 years old and has cancer. He's a HUGE Boston Red Sox fan and told my wife that he hasn't been to a game in many many years.
My wife wanted to do something nice for Norman. She started asking around if anyone could get a baseball with an autograph from ANY Red Sox player. It didn't matter who signed it, but she wanted something from the Red Sox to give to him. It was a couple weeks after she started looking that she finally mentioned it to me. I said, "Let me ask on Twitter if anyone I know can help out."
I sent out SEVERAL messages on Twitter asking if anyone could help out. (Sorry to the people I annoyed and thanks to the people that ReTweeted and helped out!) After almost a week of getting no where, someone said to me, "Why don't you ask Lindsay?".
Lindsay Clubine is a Deal or no Deal model (#26 http://www.nbc.com/Deal_or_No_Deal/models/lindsay.shtml). She is also engaged to Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=453329). I "know" her from the work I have been doing with the Follow me to Bliss reality show (Http://www.followmetobliss.com) but I had never met her in person and only had very brief e-mail contact with her. I didn't want to ask her to talk to Clay for me. So, I kept looking around for another way to do this.
After another week of no luck, my wife came home from work and told me that Norman's health was getting worse and he probably didn't have very long. I decided I had no choice now but to ask Lindsay for help.
I sent a message through a few other people that know her much better than I do, to ask her if this is something she'd be willing to do. She contacted me and said, "I'm on a shoot in Puerto Rico, but I'll be talking to Clay tonight. I'll ask him". A day or so later I got an e-mail from Lindsay, "Clay says that he would be more than happy to get Norman a signed ball and if we can wait he would even visit!". I wrote back that that would be fantastic! and to let me know when. Lindsay said, "When I get back from Puerto Rico and Clay is in Boston." I just said "OK".
A couple days later my wife came home and said that Norman is getting even worse and probably has less than a week left.
Back to the e-mail. I contacted Lindsay again and told her about Norman's condition. She replied that she would see what she can do. Later that day she e-mailed saying that Clay has the ball and he can call Norman the next morning!
I sent Lindsay the contact info so Clay could talk to Norman. Lindsay replied that she got the info but hadn't heard from Clay and didn't know whether he had the ball or where I could pick it up. The Red Sox were playing a game in Boston that night and she wouldn't be able to talk to him until after the game.
I was starting to panic a little since my wife had already made arrangements with the home where Norman was staying, to expect a call from Clay. I wrote back to Lindsay to please let me know ASAP when she heard from Clay. I had business trip the next day and wouldn't be able to pick up the ball!
I got an e-mail from Lindsay around 11:30PM after the game was over.
"He left it at will call tonight, but he was so busy at the field he didn't have a chance to text me letting me know. Anyways they are only home tomorrow and they go on the road. Can you please have someone go to Fenway and pick up the ball at will call?
Also Clay is calling Norm in the morning, but he is very nervous about it. He doesn't know what to say. I told him to just be a friendly voice. "
Tomorrow? At Fenway? Oh Shit! I'll be in New York all day!
Again I was in a panic session trying to figure out how to pick up this ball! It was already 11:45PM and I couldn't find anyone in the Boston area still online that could pick it up. I left a Twitter Direct Message to Wil Porter (another person I met through Follow me to Bliss) to call me in the morning. He doesn't live or work far from Fenway Park.
He called me while I was on the road to NY and I told him the situation. He said he would be glad to help. WHEW! I called my wife and gave her Wil's phone number. I asked her if she was going to be with Norman when Clay called. She said, "No, I have a meeting." Oh Crap!
Later in the day (Not sure when, the day turned into a blur) I got a call from Wil, "I went to the 'Will Call' window but it's closed. It doesn't open until just before the game starts. So, I went to the ticket window and they had no idea what I was talking about. I went to the Red Sox offices and they said they don't do that. I'll try the 'Will Call' later when it's open."
I called my wife to tell her that we didn't have the ball! I also asked her if Clay had called Norman. She told me that she didn't know but, she was heading to the Home and would call me from there.
When my wife got to the Home and had a chance to talk to Norman's nurse and to Norman, she called me.
The nurse at the home said there were a lot of "Uh-huh, yeah yeah, uh-huh" from Norman, But his eyes LIT UP and he was smiling from ear to ear!
She said Clay talked to him for like 15-20 minutes! So great of him to take so much time.
When my wife went to talk to Norman. She asked him "Did you get a call today?"
Norman, "Yeah! It was someone from the Redsox! But I don't remember who..."
Donna, "Was it Clay Buchholz?"
Norman, "Yeah! He's a pitcher! He's pitching tonight! I'm gonna watch the game!"
Donna said he was smiling and very excited about it.
I was driving home from New York thinking that everything was going great when I got a call from Wil. "I just went to the 'Will Call', they don't have the ball and don't know anything about it! I'm heading back to the offices to see if they know anything new. Call you back"
Oh No! Not again . . .
I called my wife to tell her what Wil said. While I was telling her, Wil called again. I switched over hoping that Wil had good news. It wasn't. . . No Ball, no one knew anything about it. he was going to leave. Then suddenly "Hold On! Let me call you right back!"
Switched back to my wife to tell her there was no ball. I told her to try to get a message to Lindsay to see if she could tell us where to get the ball.
About 15 minutes after I hung up with my wife I got a call from Wil.
"I got it."
Me, "The ball? You got it?"
Me, "Awesome! Is it signed by Clay?"
"By Clay and a bunch more."
Me, "More? Who else signed it?"
"Dunno, Can't read a lot of them, But I think I see Youk." (Kevin Youkilis for you non Red Sox fans)
Me, "No way, that's cool!"
To make a long story short . . . I know . . . Too Late. I met up with Wil and got the ball. Donna and I went to a sports memorabilia store and bought a stand for the ball. When I got home I looked at the ball. Here's a list of the Autographs on it. (In no order, Just the way I read them)
#61 Clay Buchholz P
#46 Jacoby Ellsbury CF
#31 Jon Lester P
#12 Jed Lowrie SS
#15 Dustin Pedroia 2B
#56 Ramon Ramirez P
#62 Hunter Jones P
#20 Kevin Youkilis 1B/3B
#63 Justin Masterson P
We delivered "The Ball" to Norm today. I took pictures, but because we don't have permission from his healthcare proxy, I can't post them.
He looked at it and said "Oooh, that's nice."
Donna, "Norm, want me to read the names to you?"
Donna, "The first one is Clay Buchholz"
Norm, "Pitcher. I talked to him you know!"
Donna, "I know! Cool huh?"
Donna, "Jacoby Ellsbury"
Donna, "Jon Lester"
Donna, "Jed lowrie"
Norm, "Yeah! Shortstop"
Donna, "Dustin Pedroia"
Norm, "Pedey, 2nd base"
Donna, "Right! Ramon Ramirez"
Norm, "Don't know"
Norm, "Oh, ok"
Donna, "Hunter Jones"
Norm, "Lot of pitchers"
Donna, "Yes, Kevin Youkilis"
Donna, "That's right! Youuuuk! Justin Masterson?
Norm, " 'Nother pitcher"
Donna, "That's right! That's all of them, pretty nice huh?
Norm, "Very nice."
Norm started falling asleep in a few minutes. So, we said our goodbyes and let him sleep.
Pictures of "The Ball"
Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester
Jed lowrie, Dustin Pedroia
Ramon Ramirez, Hunter Jones, Kevin Youkilis
I want to give extra special thanks to everyone who helped make this happen!!
To: Clay Buchholz & Lindsay Clubine, You guys are awesome to take the time to do something like this for someone you never met and make him so happy with the little time he has left.
Leave a comment for Clay, Lindsay or Norman and I'll make sure they see it!
FYI, All of the people involved in getting this done met on Twitter. So much for "Nothing gets done on social media!"
http://twitter.com/tyrstag - Me
http://twitter.com/wilporter - Wil Porter
http://twitter.com/Lindzy45 - Lindsay Clubine
http://twitter.com/followmetobliss - Follow me to Bliss
http://twitter.com/scottempringham - Scott Empringham - Follow me to Bliss