Salvy brings cancer patient smiles during BP

Salvy brings cancer patient smiles during BP

KANSAS CITY -- Teresa Thaman had one wish on Tuesday as she and her husband, David, drove to Kansas City from Joplin, Mo., for radiation treatment at the KU Medical Center.

Thaman, 49, wanted to go to a Royals game and meet her favorite player, catcher Salvador Perez. She even brought a sign indicating that desire and tried to get Perez's attention near the dugout after batting practice.

When Perez saw the sign, he immediately signaled for security guards to let her on the field. It was there that Perez embraced her, and the two shared a few precious moments together.

"It means the world to me," Thaman said, through tears, before Perez went out and drove in a career-high five RBIs in the Royals' 8-6 win over the Tigers.

This is Thaman's second bout with cancer. She fought through Hodgkin's disease as a teenager, the same cancer that Chiefs safety Eric Berry fought through. She also got a chance to meet Berry last fall.

Last April, Thaman learned she had cancer again -- thyroid and skin cancer. Next week, David and Teresa will return to KU Medical Center for her surgery.

"I can't have any more chemotherapy," she said. "We're hopeful the surgery will help."

While Thaman copes with the uncertainty, she believes the Royals and, especially Perez, give her a mental boost.

"Watching the Royals is helpful," she said. "I watch every pitch. It takes my mind off the bad stuff."

And what is it about Perez that brings her such joy?

"I just love him because he always is smiling," she said, tears flowing again. "He just seems like a really good guy. I love him. He just keeps me happy."

Teresa had been an investigator for the health department in Joplin, though she can no longer work.

"I was only about three years from retirement," she said. "But I'm losing the muscle [mass] around my neck. It's hard to hold my neck up."

The only thing, it seems, that keeps her spirits up are the Royals.

"Watching them," she said, "helps so much."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.