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13-year-old's love for the Atlanta Braves helped him power through cancer diagnosis

"It was a consistency in a really hard time in our lives," Jacob's mom said. "To win the World Series, it almost felt like it was for Jacob."

ATLANTA β€” One longtime Atlanta Braves fan at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta understands what it feels like to face challenges, and the months of games leading up to the big World Series win have held particularly special meaning for Jacob Bannister this year.

"I've always been a Braves fan since I was born," Jacob told 11Alive. "And I knew we were going to get really far in the postseason."

Jacob can't even begin to guess how many Braves games he's seen over the years. 

"Over ... like a lot. Over 200," Jacob estimated.

But just as baseball season started ramping up this year, Jacob started to get sick and was diagnosed with a form of leukemia with months of intense treatment ahead.

But there was a constant for Jacob and his family through the rollercoaster of diagnosis and treatment: Jacob's love for the Atlanta Braves. 

His team pride was on constant display while at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children's. 

"It helped," Jacob explained. "Just to help me think about something else. It's just so great. The one year the Braves won the World Series is the hardest year for me."

For Jacob, the postseason run was a perfect distraction and even brought a few surprises. 

Jacob got the chance to toss the first pitch during a September game, representing Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and after a social media post from his mom went viral, he even got a trip to the World Series. 

This is the moment I told Jake he’s GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!! Of course he hugged his dog and not his mama! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ We...

Posted by Kelly Renee Sailer on Thursday, October 28, 2021

His mom said the season helped their family power through the worst times, as they watched the Braves deliver their best. 

"It was a consistency in a really hard time in our lives," Kelly Sailer explained.
"And for it to be a constant build-up to the World Series, and then to win the World Series, It almost felt like it was for Jacob. It gave us a lot of joy."

"I don't know how to put it into words," Jacob said. "I just can't believe the Braves won the World Series."


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