If you wish to build it, they will come.
Thomas Hastings, a young Red Sox fan born with scoliosis and then diagnosed with muscular dystrophy just after his first birthday, was given the opportunity through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to have whatever he wanted.
"We had some doctors that… said, you know, you might wanna do this. So we felt this was the right time," said his father, Brad Hastings. "We just sat down with Thomas and said, ‘Hey Thomas, this is your chance. Whatever you can think of, whatever you can imagine, you can ask for.’"
The boy, who’s undergone 14 back surgeries, knew exactly what he wanted: a baseball field.
"Anything to do with baseball just takes him to an escape," added his mother, Mary Hastings. "Something that he can just forget about everything else that’s going on, because he understands the game of baseball."
Connecticut isn’t quite Iowa and Fantasy Fenway isn’t quite the Field of Dreams, but Make-A-Wish and the Red Sox, with help from the town of Windsor, came to build a replica of his favorite ballpark in the family’s backyard.
Red Sox head groundskeeper David Mellor, who said he was moved by Thomas’ wish, even got involved, and Fantasy Fenway was built in less than 40 days.
"(Thomas’) disease is progressive. He’s doing less and less. He gets so trapped in this world of dark days and tough days, but this was an experience where we saw people that were just giving of themselves," his father said. "Make-A-Wish brought that together. And it was a gift for Thomas that also helped us as an entire family to remember that there are amazing people out there, caring people out there all over the place."
Thomas was thrilled with new ballpark, which he wanted to be completely wheelchair accessible: "I can just wake up to it. I don’t have to think ‘Is that supposed to be Fenway Park?’ I know it’s Fenway Park."