New Brunswick

Meeting the Red Sox: a journey from the ICU to a baseball stadium

Just one week after being released from the neurological ICU, David Kelly, head equipment manager of Saint John Sea Dogs, travelled to Yankee Stadium to meet his baseball heroes.

David Kelly meets his baseball heroes just days after his latest cancer treatments

David Kelly standing in front of Red Sox dugout at Yankee Stadium. He travelled there after a stint in the neuro ICU. (David Kelly )

It was a trip that almost didn't happen.

Just days ahead of a planned trip to two of the best known baseball stadiums in the U.S., David Kelly sat confined to the walls of the neurological ICU, at the Saint John Regional hospital.

Kelly, the Saint John Sea Dogs head equipment manager, has been battling cancer for four years. While in the neuro-ICU, doctors discovered new cancer spots on his brain and treated him with radiation. 

Quality of life

During that time, he kept thinking of the trip he'd already booked to see his baseball heroes.

"When I was in neuro-ICU I didn't think there was any chance it was going to happen," said Kelly.

Kelly on Yawkey way outside Fenway Park. (David Kelly )

But determined, Kelly asked his neurosurgeon if he could still travel to see his favourite Boston baseball team play against their New York rivals at Yankee Stadium.  

Kelly's neurosurgeon told him to go and enjoy himself.

"He said if it was him, he would go," said Kelly. "He's all about quality of life and that's [part] of quality of life."

Kelly, Andrew Benintendi and Nathan Belliveau on the field at Yankee stadium. (David Kelly )

Within a week of being released from the neuro-ICU, Kelly was there, in the stands, watching a batting practice. 

Meeting his baseball heroes

He met pretty much every member of the Boston Red Sox.

"They have a great set up for batting practice, you stand right in front of the dugout," he said. "Basically every player that had to go on or off the field had to walk right by me."

He spent some time chatting with Jackie Bradley Jr, a 27-year old center fielder for the Boston Red Sox.

"Just a first class individual, it was just a blast, especially after the week we had," said Kelly.

Jackie Bradley Jr, left, on the field at Yankee stadium with Kelly, right. (David Kelly )

Now back in Canada, Kelly is continuing his work with the Saint John Sea Dogs hockey team. 

While his job is in hockey, he says he's just as passionate about the sport of baseball.

"I'm a diehard Red Sox fan," he said. "Hockey is my life, baseball is kind of my getaway from life."