A’s find a kindred soul in Nick LeGrande

photo2Ryan Cook, Jerry Blevins and Sean Doolittle know their video games.

Friday they found out that Nick LeGrande does, too.

LeGrande, a 14-year-old from suburban Kansas City who has a rare blood disorder that keeps him from spending much time in crowd and who is waiting for a bone marrow donor for a match, plays a pretty good game, too.

During the visit Friday, Cook and LeGrande played NHL Hockey, and not just a scrimmage, either. They went at it in LeGrande’s room with Blevins and Doolittle watching, and Cook scored a late goal to force overtime.

   LeGrande, however, rallied to win in overtime.

The visit was supposed to last about an hour. The A’s trio was having such a good time, though, that they more than doubled that until it got to the point where they needed to head to Kauffman Stadium to get to work.

Cook is hoping the visit will generate some interest in the public in getting tested for possible bone marrow donations. In the case of Nick LeGrande, it could make his life normal again. He might even be able to play baseball again.

But for the moment, his life is about being home schooled and going once a week for blood transfusions that can last from between two hours and eight hours.

When Nick and his family tried to thank the A’s for coming, it was clear the group was sincere when they said they were grateful for the opportunity. And they hope to get the word out on severe aplastic anemia, for which the only current cure is donated bone marrow that is a 100 percent match.

“This is about Nick,’’ Cook said, “but this is also about getting the word out about this disease and about having people get tested for bone marrow compatibility. It can change lives.’’

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.