The little boy who captured the hearts of the Rays - FOX 13 News

The little boy who captured the hearts of the Rays

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If you've noticed the blue bands the Rays players have been wearing, you might wonder what they're for.

They are a way for the team to show its support for one little boy, who clearly loves his hometown team.

"This is Landon's room. We actually have it all decorated in Rays stuff," said Michelle Morales, as she gave us tour of her son's bedroom.

Three-year-old Landon Harrington is definitely a huge Rays fan. His room is flooded with everything Rays, from bobble heads to bats to baseball jerseys, signed especially for him.

"It's got the number 30 because he was born on September 30th," she explained, as she showed off a jersey.


Landon was born prematurely at just 32 weeks, on a day that forever changed their lives.

"He had severe brain damage and he had severe brain hemorrhaging at that time," Michelle said.

The diagnosis was devastating.

"You're trying not to mourn the loss of this child that you thought you were going to have because you have this beautiful child in front of you."

The journey ahead would mean a lifetime of doctor visits, therapy and rehab.

Using a baseball analogy, Michelle explained, "Life just kinda threw us a curve ball at that point and you just kind of embrace it."

Inspired by the support of those around her, Michelle created rubber light blue bracelets with Landon's name on them. On the other side, it reads "Mr. Strong," which is the nickname a family friend gave him after overcoming one obstacle after another.

She began to hand them out everywhere, including at a signing with former Rays All-Star Shortstop Jason Bartlett.

"I give Jason a letter and a bracelet and sure enough, a few days later, I'm watching the game and I pause the DVR and I'm like what is that, that's the bracelet on his wrist and I'm like screaming and I'm like look at that."


The Rays wristband fever caught on. David Price has been spotted wearing one, and even Manager Joe Maddon still wears it at games.

And Michelle is now hoping that these will help their new foundation raise money and provide support for other kids like Landon who need expensive therapy.

"It really helps to just have that person to be like, 'hey I'm having a rough day, I get it, I've been there. I've been there like ten times you know,' " Michelle says.

And having been there, Michelle is every bit optimistic about Landon's future, knowing that each day he accomplishes something else the medical experts said he never would.

"Landon is like this great little boy and he has such personality even though he's so non-verbal, he speaks volumes to me. Each day it's like something new and exciting that I get to watch his eyes light up about something."

A ray of light that you see in his love for the Rays, and with blue bands taking over Tropicana Field, it's clear the rays are also huge fans of their biggest little fan.



The bracelets come with a $5 donation to the Mr. Strong Foundation:

They're also doing a fundraiser on Sept. 9th at the PDQ in St. Pete with an autograph session by Jason Bartlett from 5:30 - 6:30pm for a $10 donation.

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