Alex Colón, a pitcher with Augusta University Jaguars Baseball, went to the Ronald McDonald House with his teammates a few weeks ago to decorate the home-away-from-home for Halloween and to prepare a meal for its guests. Colón, a freshman from Glynn County, Ga., on a pitching scholarship with the Jags, noticed a distraught young girl.
“I walked in and went to the kitchen to help out with food; then I looked over at the play area, and there was a girl trying to use the Xbox,” said Colón, 18. “She asked me if I could make it work, so I walked over and tried to help. We kept putting in game after game, but they were all scratched up. Then I noticed that the Xbox didn’t even have a hard drive, so you couldn’t play the games even if they weren’t scratched.”
Needless to say, the little girl was disappointed that she couldn’t use the device. Children staying at Ronald McDonald House are usually there because they have an ill sibling being cared for next door at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. So the toys, games and activities provide a positive distraction.
After Colón left the House, he couldn’t take his mind off what happened. So, the next day, he decided to do something about it.
“I thought, ‘you know, I can help them.’ The whole point of us going to the Ronald McDonald House was to connect with the kids there,” he said.
So he started a GoFundMe page, figuring he might be able to acquire a few donations to help replace the game system.
“The first person to donate was my aunt. Then other people started donating, mainly my family, my mom, my sister … a police officer from Brunswick that I know. A couple days later, the account had $500,” he said. “It blew my mind!”
So he and a few teammates went shopping. They bought a new Xbox, controllers, and new games. Then he drove over to the Ronald McDonald House to make the donation.
“I was sweating when I got there,” admits Colón, even though he’s handled much greater pressure on the pitcher’s mound. “I went in with the game system and spoke to the lady at the desk, and she started crying. Then she called others who worked there to come see. It was very emotional.”
Betts Murdison, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta, said the House is beyond grateful to the Augusta University family. “It’s these everyday touches of kindness that mean so much to our families. In this case I think that Alex received as much as he gave.”
Head baseball coach Chris Howell said the Jags participate in several community service projects, because with more than 40 players they can really make a difference in the community.
“But Alex took it a step further,” Howell said. “What he did was unplanned, and it shows how much he loves others. I am really proud of him.”
The Jags Baseball season begins with games in February. For the most current sports information, visit JaguarsRoar.com.
To find out how you can provide assistance at the Ronald McDonald House, check the How You Can Help Page on the website.