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As the third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Andy LaRoche is making a name for himself in the sports world. But he’s also trying to make a name for himself off the field. Andy has a passion for touching the lives of children with Down syndrome. He’s inviting these children and their families to spend time with him at the ballpark. They play on the field, meet the team and take in a game.

One little girl who’s formed a special friendship with Andy is Chloe Kondrich. Chloe was born to Kurt and Margie Kondrich six years ago. After her birth, they were given mostly negative information at the hospital regarding Down syndrome. But that didn’t matter to them. Kurt and Margie knew Chloe was here for a reason and they knew she was destined to become a cherished member of their family and community.

Kurt and Chloe now spend a lot of their time advocating for Down syndrome. They’ve had the opportunity to meet representatives and senators. They were even invited to meet Senator John McCain and former Alaskan governor, Sarah Palin. But nothing compares to the way that she talks about Andy. She says they’re “buddies.”

For Andy, spending time with Chloe and other kids has been one of the highlights of the time he’s spending playing baseball in Pittsburgh. It says a lot about the impact children with Down syndrome can have on people.

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Dear Friends,I’ve been moved and encouraged by the many emails we’ve received as a result of this program.  Several parents of children with Down syndrome have written to echo our message that individuals with Down syndrome are a real blessing.  Thanks to all those who’ve contacted me!  God bless you guys! Brad

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Facign Life Head-On, signed Pittsburgh Pirates Gear, Andy LaRoche.