Wear Red or Go Naked, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help families affected by congenital heart defects (CHDs), held its annual Home Runs for Henry event on June 25.
Home Runs for Henry is a softball game inspired by the brave memory of Henry Prentiss. In 2014, board member Chris Prentiss and his wife Rachel lost their son Henry to multiple congenital heart defects. The game was created as a tribute to Henry as well as a beautiful day of softball to support his family. During this game, children who have left the physical world far too early are remembered and celebrated. Bringing the CHD community together to share memories and honor their angels is part of the Wear Read mission.
This year Team Wear Red played in memory of Jackie and Lenny Pecora’s daughter and Keith Pecora’s twin sister, Chloe. In 1998, the Pecora twins were born, and their daughter Chloe was born with a congenital heart defect called HLHS or Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, one of more than 40 types of CHDs.
More than 40,000 babies are born in the United States with congenital heart defects, which equates to approximately 1 in 100 babies in the U.S., or one every 15 minutes. Chloe had one of three lifesaving open heart surgeries that children with HLHS need and while it was successful, she passed away nine days after she was born. Although Chloe passed away more than 23 years ago, the Pecora family has continued their support of the CHD community.
That’s why when Chris Prentiss contacted them about honoring Chloe’s memory for this game, it was very special. It was the perfect type of event for the Pecora family to celebrate their daughter, as baseball is a passion for them.
The softball event was played at Kew Field in East Northport, where Keith played and Lenny coached for Larkfield Little League years ago. The family was so excited as an outpouring of family and friends rallied to support them. The jerseys they wore were special as well: White with red pinstripes, as they are a heart family and diehard Yankee fans. On the front of the jersey was the team name “Chloe’s Bombers” in the Dodger’s font with Keith’s special tribute tattoo for Chloe. On the back: “In Memory of Chloe” with the number 22, the number Keith and Chloe share.
Before the first pitch, the Pecora’s were presented with a commemorative bench with an engraved plaque with their daughter’s name which will be placed at the field that holds so many of their wonderful memories. It was a heartfelt moment and one that won’t be forgotten.
The game started, and there were players of all ages on both teams. As they played, Team Wear Red achieved their goal to enjoy a game of softball, celebrate life and have fun.
To learn more about Wear Red or Go Naked, visit WearRedorgoNaked.org.