10-year-old with incurable illness inspires Malone University softball team


CANTON, Ohio (WJW)– A courageous Stark County girl, who is battling an incurable illness, has a simple wish: To get on the field in the sport she loves one more time.

Ten-year-old Rylee Abbuhl has a passion for softball, and it has always been her dream to play softball in college and then professionally.

“I just like to pitch a lot. It’s my favorite part of it,” said Rylee with a smile.

Unfortunately, doctors discovered that Rylee’s central nervous system is failing and her brain is slowly shutting down.

“The girls on the team are really understanding with my health and they’re really nice, and always been really nice to me,” she said.

As Rylee’s condition worsened in 2020, she had to give up the sport she loves.

“Her doctors were concerned that the sport was a little bit too physical for her with her medical condition. So we had to make the tough decision last year that she was going to walk away and not be able to play anymore,” said Rylee’s mother, Lindsey Abbuhl.

When a player on the Malone University softball team learned about Rylee’s condition and her passion for softball, she and her coach decided to share the story with teams across the country.

“It just broke my heart that this little girl was going through something like this, just something that no kid should ever have to go through, especially being so young,” Adrianna McKelley said.

The players at Malone were so touched by Rylee’s bravery and positive outlook, that they have invited her to throw out the first pitch at their scrimmage this Friday against arch rival Walsh University.

“We just want to let her know how inspired we are by her bravery and just how amazing she is, we just want her to know that we have her back and that we’re all cheering her on,” McKelley said.

Rylee and her mom say they are touched by the support.

“It makes my heart proud that Rylee has made such an impact on these girls. You know, that her passion for softball has inspired them to try harder and to play harder,” Lindsey Abbuhl said.

“It makes me feel really happy that they want to do this for me,” Rylee said.

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