KOBE – Los Angeles Angels player Shohei Ohtani on Saturday encouraged an ailing one-year-old boy, who shares the same given name, as well as his parents at a hospital in Japan.
Ohtani presented Shohei Kawasaki, who needs a heart transplant due to cardiomyopathy, with a baseball he autographed and a paper board carrying the message “Good luck, Shohei” during a meeting at the hospital in Osaka Prefecture.
“Hi, I heard your name is Shohei,” Ohtani said to the boy lying in bed. “I hope you find a donor soon,” Ohtani said to the parents, who named the boy after the two-way baseball star from Iwate Prefecture.
Ohtani was playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan when the boy was born in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, in June 2017.
The parents intend to take their son to the United States for transplant surgery and are asking for donations, estimating the plan will cost them some ¥350 million ($3.25 million).
Ohtani, who was named MLB Rookie of the Year in 2018, visited the hospital at the request of the parents and their supporters.
The mother, 33-year-old Shizuha Kawasaki, told reporters the family cannot thank Ohtani enough and the visit by the international sensation gave them “a lot of encouragement.”