Girl battling cancer throws out first pitch at Salem Red Sox game

10 News visited Makayla Russell as she prepared for her debut on the mound

Makayla Russel, a little girl who has been battling cancer, will throw out the first pitch at the Salem Red Sox game tonight

ROANOKE, Va. – Makayla Russell, who has been battling stage four cancer, threw out the first pitch at the Salem Red Sox game on Friday, and 10 News got to catch up with her family before she made her big debut.

“I’m throwing the first pitch at the Red Sox game,” 8-year-old Makayla said with a smile.

Makayla warmed up just hours before the game and she said she was nervous, but what she didn’t realize was that many of those fans would be out to support her.

“Yeah, I don’t know if there will be more there for her or the ball game. She’s overly excited too. She has some nervousness but I think we’re going to have a great time,” said her dad, Gary Russell.

“Have her friends all supporting her and her actually see the support from the community, sometimes she doesn’t see it, but I think tonight she’ll be able to really see,” added her mom, Tanya Russell.

10 News first introduced you to Makayla in May when her family found out she had stage four cancer, and we’ve learned that their journey since then has been hard.

“One good day she’s really good, but she has her days where she just refuses and doesn’t want to go and doesn’t want chemo anymore,” Tanya said.

Makayla has had eight chemotherapy treatments, but her spirits remain high, despite the side effects.

“She’s lost her hair but after a little bit she got used to it and respected everything and she didn’t want to cut her hair,” Gary explained.

A bright moment came when someone in the hospital gave her a gift that spiked her confidence.

“It was a doll that didn’t have hair,” Makayla said.

The doll also had big brown eyes and a smile, just like the one Makayla has when she’s looking to strike out cancer.

About the Author:

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.