The 11th season of the INTEGRIS Health “Home Run for Life” series wraps up Saturday night as Christian Brown will be recognized prior to the Oklahoma City Dodgers’ 7:05 p.m. game against the El Paso Chihuahuas at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Brown was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer at the age of 27. She had surgery at INTEGRIS Heath Cancer Institute in Enid, then traveled to INTEGRIS Health Cancer Institute in Oklahoma City twice every other week for treatment and chemotherapy.
She attended classes at Northern Oklahoma College between eight rounds of chemotherapy. She even carried her medicine pump with her around campus as she studied to become a registered nurse.
“Home Run For Life” recognizes individuals in the community who have overcome a significant medical event with the help of their families, physicians and health care professionals. To symbolize the end of their battle against adversity, honorees take a home run “lap” around the bases during a pregame ceremony.
“Each month during the baseball season, we are proud to partner with INTEGRIS Health to honor the perseverance and courage displayed by these incredible Oklahomans,” OKC Dodgers President/General Manager Michael Byrnes said. “’Home Run For Life’ allows us to uniquely recognize their amazing and inspiring stories of triumph over significant health challenges.”
Brown, an Enid native, had been traveling for work and had been a licensed practical nurse for five years.
Suddenly, she began experiencing extreme abdominal pain and ended up in the emergency room. What she thought were menstrual cramps turned out to be a mass obstructing her bowels and stage three colon cancer in June 2019.
The diagnosis caught Brown by surprise as she had no family history of cancer.
“It was emotional,” she said. “I’d always been healthy prior.”
Colorectal cancer numbers are rising in young people, but the reason why remains a mystery, said Sumbal Nabi, M.D., with the INTEGRIS Health Cancer Institute in Enid.
“When someone is diagnosed with cancer at a young age, people automatically suspect genetics, but experts still haven’t been able to use genetics to explain the surge,” Nabi said.
Angered but determined, Brown put her head down and got to work. She attended classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and made trips to OKC for treatment Wednesdays and Fridays.
“Going to school really helped me,” she said. “It gave me motivation to get out of bed.”
What made balancing class and treatment a bit easier for Brown was the care she received at INTEGRIS Health.
“The staff was amazing,” she said. “There’s nowhere else I would’ve rather gone for my treatment.”
To read Brown’s full story, visit the OKC Dodgers’ “Beyond the Bricks” website at: medium.com/beyond-the-bricks. Photos of Brown are attached for use (credit: OKC Dodgers).
The Dodgers continue a six-game series against the El Paso Chihuahuas at 7:05 p.m. tonight and the teams play nightly through Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Series highlights include:
• Hometown Heroes Military Celebration Night presented by Dell: Current and former local military personnel and their families will be honored Friday during Hometown Heroes Military Celebration Night presented by Dell. Dodgers players and coaches will take the field for the 7:05 p.m. game in special commemorative camouflage jerseys that will be auctioned online through the MiLB Auctions website to benefit the OKC Dodgers Baseball Foundation. The evening’s festivities are scheduled to include a flyover featuring an E-3 Sentry (AWACS) from the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, static displays of military equipment from Fort Sill and performances from the 77th Army Band. Military personnel will be honored throughout the night and participate in other activities such as an oath of enlistment ceremony and in-game entertainment. Fireworks are scheduled to follow the game presented by SpringHill Suites. A special $20 ticket offer that can be purchased here includes a $5 donation to the USO and an OKC Dodgers baseball cap.
• OKC 89ers Night: In addition to Brown being honored before the 7:05 p.m. game, Saturday is also OKC 89ers Night and Dodgers players and coaches will wear special retro OKC 89ers jerseys and hats in a nod to the franchise’s history. The evening’s entertainment will feature throwback themes and the team’s jerseys will auctioned online through the MiLB Auctions website to benefit the OKC Dodgers Baseball Foundation. The 89ers played at All Sports Stadium from 1962-97 before the franchise relocated to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in 1998. Groups of 10 or more can take part in a special ticket offer featuring all-you-can-eat ballpark fare, a terrace-level game ticket and an OKC Dodgers hat for $25 per person.
• Kids Run the Bases: Following Sunday’s 6:05 p.m. series finale, kids can run the bases like the pros.
OKC Dodgers tickets can be purchased through okcdodgers.com/tickets. For more information, please visit okcdodgers.com or call (405) 218-2182. Live radio coverage of each OKC Dodgers game begins 15 minutes before first pitch on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com and through the free iHeartRadio or MiLB First Pitch apps. OKC Dodgers games are also available streamed live on MiLB.TV with a subscription.