May 31, 2020
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3-year-old fighting leukemia gets a hero’s welcome at Portland Sea Dogs game

Courtesy of the Dinardo family
Courtesy of the Dinardo family
Bryer Dinardo, 3, of Cape Neddick receives a bat signed by the Portland Sea Dogs players after running the bases prior to Sunday's game at Hadlock Field in Portland. Dinardo was named an Anthem Hero for her bravery in fighting leukemia at such a young age. From left to right: Trenton Thunder manager Pat Osborn; Portland Sea Dogs mascot Slugger; Bryer's brother, Freddie; Bryer's mother, Jodi; Bryer; Bryer's father, Mike; and Sea Dogs manager Joe Oliver.

As part of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s continued commitment to supporting the prevention and treatment of cancer and the work of the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, Bryer Dinardo, 3, of Cape Neddick was honored as an Anthem Hero at Hadlock Field for the courage she displayed battling cancer at such a young age. The ceremony took place prior to Sunday’s Portland Sea Dogs game.

“Despite her very young age, Bryer is the face of courage and perseverance as she battles leukemia, and that’s why we are honored to recognize her as an Anthem Hero at Hadlock,” said Denise McDonough, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “We have a long tradition of supporting organizations that foster healthy communities here in Maine, and we’re especially proud to support the Maine Children’s Cancer Program and the good work they do for kids like Bryer.”

Last fall, after a number of medical appointments for what was thought to be an allergic reaction or Lyme disease, Dinardo was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She spent nearly four weeks at Boston Children’s Hospital for her first phase of treatment and went into remission quickly. In January, the family worked with the cancer program to transfer Dinardo’s care from Boston to Maine. She is making incredible progress in her recovery, but is still on active treatment today for leukemia and will be for one more year. Dinardo loves to play baseball with her big brother, swim, play soccer and play with dolls and board games.

The Anthem Heroes at Hadlock program provides children who have battled a serious medical condition a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Hadlock Field. Each honoree takes a celebratory home run lap around the bases of Hadlock prior to a Sea Dogs home game while the players give the child high-fives and the crowd provides a standing ovation. The children and their families also receive a number of Sea Dogs souvenirs and other VIP privileges. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Maine Children’s Cancer Program’s “Strike Out Cancer in Kids” campaign.


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