Just over two weeks after the St. Paul Saints won the American Association championship, the baseball club is mourning the loss of team owner Mike Veeck's daughter.
Rebecca Veeck, 27, died Oct. 1 after a long battle with Batten disease, a rare nervous system disorder that usually proves fatal by the time a person is a teenager, according to KSTP.
Rebecca and her father were profiled by Sports Illustrated in 2005. The article tells Rebecca's story of working at St. Paul Saints games with her dad when she was just 2 years old, then finding out that she was going blind at the age of 7.
After being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, Sports Illustrated reports that Rebecca, looking up at the blue sky and holding her father's hand as a child, told her dad: "It's O.K., Daddy, if I go blind, because I'll always have you and Mom to tell me what you see."
The article goes on to quote Rebecca's desire to get her sight back, speaking here as a 13-year-old.
"I accept that I'm blind," she says, "but I never totally accept it. You can't. You don't. Because pride will be lost if you totally accept it. Accepting it means I'm O.K. with it—and I'm not. You give in if you accept it totally. One percent of me—no, one and a half percent of me—doesn't accept it. I keep that one and a half percent for me. I want my sight back. I'm only 13, but I'm sick of waiting. I just want my vision back. I'm at the age where I'm realizing I'm not going to be able to drive or maybe even see my own kids when I have them. I think God did this for a reason. I just don't know what it is yet."
Rebecca has also been remembered with an emotional tribute by WCIV-TV in Charleston, South Carolina, which covers one of the other teams Mike Veeck co-owns, the Charleston RiverDogs.
"Her smile was infectious, her love spread infinitely further than the arms she used to embrace.
Rebecca was a friend to many. Nothing can ever prepare a parent to lose a child and there are no words to soothe their heartbreak.
So if you believe in prayer, say one for Rebecca’s father Mike, her mother Libby, and her brother Night Train.
Rest in peace sweet Rebecca. You left a legacy of love, courage, hope and humor."
The Saints issued the following statement:
"Our hearts break for the Veeck family. Rebecca has been a part of the Saints family since she was old enough to talk. Her smile and joy warmed the hearts of those she met. Rebecca will truly be missed."