1993 NEWS

1993 News > 3/4/93


By Paula Day, The Georgia Bulletin

For third grader Kyle Betancourt, the call to come to the principal's office was ominous. He didn't think he was in trouble, but he wasn't sure.

When he reached Sister Dawn Gear's office at St. John Neumann Regional School, he found a smiling principal, his father, and one of his favorite Braves pitchers.

Tom Glavine had stopped by the school to visit the boy at Sister Dawn's request. Kyle is suffering from a severe case of hemophilia and the principal had asked Father Paul Reynolds to arrange the visit. Father Reynolds is Glavine's pastor at St. Andrews Church in North Fulton County. Kyle is the son of Frank and Maria Betancourt of St. John Neumann Parish.

"He sleeps, eats, and talks about (Glavine), who is one of his favorite players," his mother said. "He had no idea (about the visit). He could not stop talking about it when he got home that day."

Glavine signed a baseball and Braves' cap for the boy, who now wears the cap to bed, his mother said. His room is "totally covered" with Braves memorabilia.

"The other kids said how lucky I was," Kyle reports. "I was wearing my gym clothes and he wanted to know what we were doing in gym. Wen I told him jumping rope, he said he wasn't very good at that."

Although limited by the blood disease, Kyle participates in school activities as much as he can, Sister Dawn said. Unable to walk in the school's annual Walk-a-Thon last year, he led the student body through the neighborhood in his dad's van. He spent several weeks in the hospital before the date set for First Communion in the Lilbum parish. Although the pastor, Father James Fennessy offered to let him receive the sacrament in the hospital, Kyle wanted to be with the parish community for the special occasion and he managed to do so.

The boy has a ball glove, and his health permitting, will continue to practice pitching with his father in the backyard of the family's home.