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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Saltdogs roll out red carpet for Madonna resident

August 22, 2017

Bruce Anderson (center) and friends enjoy a night of baseball courtesy of the Lincoln Salt Dogs. 

To say that Bruce Anderson, a resident of Madonna’s St. Jane de Chantal long term care community, is a baseball fan would be an understatement. Although the superfan has been to every major league baseball stadium across the country, the team he enjoys watching the most is much closer to home.

Bruce had been a season ticket holder for the Lincoln Saltdogs for 10 years. In 2007, he was diagnosed with inclusion-body myositis, a degenerative nerve and muscle disorder that made attending games nearly impossible. With his health rapidly deteriorating, he had one wish – to see his beloved Saltdogs play one last time.  

Enter Heather Vanis, his social worker at Madonna. “Bruce and I could talk baseball all day long,” said Heather, the mother of three baseball-playing sons. Heather used her baseball connections and contacted the Saltdogs to see if they would donate two tickets so that a Madonna employee could take Bruce to a game.

The Saltdogs management team responded with more than Bruce and Heather ever imagined. They presented Bruce with a Saltdogs shirt, hat, signed ball, parking passes, and best of all, skybox seating for 20 of his family and friends. 

Anderson said he loves going to the games because it’s a way for the whole family to have fun. “I go to have fun - to be in the baseball atmosphere,” he said. Heather said the evening couldn’t have been scripted any better, complete with great weather and a beautiful sunset. “I thanked Bruce for letting me share such a wonderful night of baseball with him,” she added. 

According to Charlie Meyer, president and general manager of Lincoln Saltdogs Baseball, “The Lincoln Saltdogs and the Abel family appreciate the opportunity to partner with Madonna to give back to the community by helping a former season ticket holder realize his dream of coming back to the ballfield.”