Hailey's #Journeyto30 Takes Off - United Hub

Hailey's #Journeyto30 takes off

By The Hub team

Updated on September 24, 2018

Do you remember Hailey Dawson? Hailey is the eight-year-old girl whom we flew to Houston last November for Games 3 and 4 of the 2017 World Series. It's hard to forget Hailey because she's a special young girl on a very special mission – to throw out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball park. On September 16, completed her mission and threw out her 30th first pitch while in Los Angeles, California.

Hailey wears a prosthetic hand made with a 3D printer due to a birth defect known as Poland syndrome, a condition that caused her to be born missing three fingers on her right hand. After her story went viral last year, all 30 MLB teams invited her to be their guest of honor, and we offered to fly her to each of her stadium visits.

"United is doing something we could have never done on our own to make Hailey's dream come true," said Hailey's Mom, Yong Dawson.

Hailey's #Journeyto30, as its been dubbed on social media, kicked off in May with a flight from Las Vegas to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Giants game. To make this first journey extra special, employees at Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport hosted a sendoff celebration at the gate for Hailey and her family. Las Vegas airport employees sent the Dawsons off with cheers at the gate. Hailey was also invited to visit the cockpit before takeoff and even got to make the announcement welcoming customers on board the aircraft.

Hailey smiling with employees prior to her flight in Las Vegas

Not only do they receive cheers when heading off to a new destination, but they also receive them upon arrival in each new city, which is so special to Hailey and her family. Hailey's mom, Yong, says, her number one focus for her daughter during this experience is to just have fun. "It's such a confidence builder for her when she meets all of these people and gets to talk about her hand."

From San Francisco, Hailey headed off to Chicago and has been traveling all over the U.S. to various ballparks since. From visiting these cities to touring the flight simulator and throwing out the first pitch in Denver to exploring Chicago and meeting the players on the White Sox, she has been having the summer of a lifetime. As she travels to each park, her mom always says that, "Hailey is the most excited to get new autographs and use her many different 3D printed hands to throw out the first pitch at each ballpark."

Hailey in the cockpit before the flight.

One of her favorite trips so far was going to Baltimore – she has been a baseball fan ever since and especially thanks to her Dad's love for the team after growing up in Maryland. It was actually Hailey who initiated the idea to throw out the first pitch at each ballpark and is it where her journey truly began.

Though this journey is an exciting experience, it's also about more than visiting all of the baseball parks in the country. This experience has created a unique opportunity to help bring awareness to Poland Syndrome. "Many people don't know much – if anything – about this syndrome," says Yong "So this journey has given us a platform to talk about it and to also talk about her own robotic hand and just how accessible it is — if you need one, they're easy to get." Hailey recently completed her mission and threw out the first pitch at all 30 baseball stadiums in the U.S. and we are thrilled that we were able to be part of her inspiring #Journeyto30.

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