INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Butler University baseball team signed a very special recruit Wednesday afternoon as part of National Signing Day.
His name is Micah Bieda. He’s 6 years old and for more than half his life, he’s been fighting leukemia.
He is an inspiration to the rest of his teammates – a lesson about joy and enthusiasm even on the worst of days. But all that’s in the past. For Micah Bieda, Wednesday is one of the best days.
To make it on a college baseball team, some might say it takes a great swing or a uniform. But perhaps it’s just the heart of a champion, fighting with all you have and doing it with a smile on your face.
Micah may be just 6, but he checks all the boxes, as long as he remembers the right way to hold a bat.
“This is an exciting day for Micah and an exciting day for the Butler baseball program,” said Butler baseball Head Coach, David Schrage.
Back when Micah was 26 months old, doctors diagnosed him with leukemia.
“I knew something else was going on,” said Katie Bieda, Micah’s mother. “I had to be the one to call Kyle and say ‘hey, our 2-year-old baby has cancer.'”
While there was a 95% chance Micah could be cured, it would take 3.5 years of chemotherapy. For 8 months, it required weekly trips to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Because his immune system was comprised, it was the only outing he was allowed to do.
Ever since it’s required monthly chemo. It’s been a grueling schedule both for patient and parents.
“That’s how I made it through,” Katie said. “I didn’t let myself think about that other 5%.”
Still, Micah never lost his smile or his enthusiasm.
“He is the best kid ever,” she said.
Treatments ended in January with no measurable cancer present.
Through a nonprofit called Team IMPACT, the family was connected to the baseball team at Butler, attending practice and games last spring.
But Wednesday was different.
With young brother Levi and younger sister Julia acting as his agents, Schrage made Micah a lifetime Bulldog.
“For you to go through all that stuff, you showed a lot of fight and a lot of courage buddy and that’s what we want in the Butler baseball program,” he said.
He made it official by signing his name and then giving Micah the paper to sign.
“I’m super excited to call him a teammate today,” said Butler catcher, Duncan Hewitt. “Micah shows us you can show up every day and have the time of your life, be extremely positive and energetic.”
By doing so, Micah follows in his father Kyle’s footsteps, a 2006 graduate.
“It’s really meaningful to me because it’s a continuation of my Butler experience and the Butler way,” Kyle said. “It’s just really a godsend to have people come alongside us.”
For Micah, it’s pretty simple.
“Happy,” he said.
He got a cap and an intentionally large jersey he can grow into over the years. Future classes of players still need to learn about that champion’s heart.
For his parents, it’s pretty simple too. They are finally getting a more level playing field after such an uphill climb.
“Most of his preschool and toddler years were colored with just surviving,” Katie said. “Now he gets to be a kid. That’s the good part. Just getting to watch him be a kid, have fun and learn all the things he should have learned over the past number of years and catch up in that way.”
Micah is a kindergartener in the Westfield-Washington school district.
He is in remission but will continue to go to Riley for monthly checks.
In September, we covered the story of another 6-year-old who was connected by Team IMPACT with the football team at Marian University.