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WBTV helps Charlotte Knights surprise former player battling cancer

Published: Mar. 21, 2015 at 9:24 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2015 at 3:37 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte Knights baseball team put on a fantastic surprise Saturday afternoon for a former player now battling Stage IV colon cancer.

Richie Grayum, an outfielder and first player to hit a homerun in Knights Stadium back in 1990, was recently diagnosed.

His co-worker Kim Wisch reached out to Anchor Molly Grantham and said she wanted to do something special for Richie and his family to show them they are loved during this difficult time.

Molly hooked her up with someone who works for the Knights. From there, the Knights took over it. They ran with it. They said they really want to support current AND past players.

Fast forward to Saturday.

The Knights got the stadium open for season ticket holders AND 200-300 of Richie's closest friends. Kim got t-shirts made and spread the surprise word. Richie had no idea.

He has been going through treatments. That can be tough, but Richie keeps telling his family he wants to be himself. Armed with that information, his wife and two kids dragged him out of the house to head to the stadium under a fake pretense.

Richie walked in hearing hundreds of friends, family, co-workers from Delta Mold and also co-workers from Lake Wylie Elementary where his wife works were heard cheering, "RICHIE, RICHIE...". The t-shirts everyone was wearing had Richie's old baseball card printed on the front.

He later said he was stunned.

The Knights let him take some batting practice and showed video messages they'd gathered from old players and college friends on the big screen.

Richie's wife Denise says he still loves the game. He teaches kids on the weekends how to hit. When he got his port in a couple weeks ago, his first question to the doctor was, "Can I still play ball?"

Read more about Richie's former life as Knight's player here.

Pretty awesome feel-good Saturday afternoon.

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