One of the greatest moments in MLB this season was when we witnessed Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Matt Kemp strip down to give his gear to Joshua Jones, a Dodgers fan who was suffering from brain cancer. Now that moment means so much more.
Unfortunately, Jones died on Tuesday at the age of 19, according to Mike Oz of Yahoo! Sports. Jones will be missed, as he was a son, a friend and a dedicated fan.
It all started in May, when Kemp and Jones first met.
Jones was just like any other baseball fan when he attended a game between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, after his friends and family pitched in to send him. Jones enjoyed the game and even got up close and personal with Kemp.
That's when Kemp signed Jones' ball and then proceeded to strip off his hat, jersey and cleats as well, giving them to Jones.
According to Oz, Jones' aunt would go on to say that that moment "definitely made a difference for Joshua."
Jones would go home and upload a picture of his trophies on Instagram.
Kemp showed what a class act he is right then and there, but the gifts didn't stop coming for Jones.
Jones and Kemp were destined to meet again, as Kemp flew Jones out to a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Kemp would then introduce Joshua to his teammates, including 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.
Joshua's father, Steve, told MLB.com and Yahoo! Sports how much Kemp's actions meant to Joshua and the family.
You don't find a lot of ballplayers who will do something like that for you. I asked him to come over and say hello to my son and he's done a lot more than that.
Joshua's aunt, Laelah Quintor, also told Oz after the Los Angeles trip that "[Joshua] had hope again."
The final picture posted on Joshua's Instagram account is of the bat Kershaw gave him.
Sadly, what should've been a long, happy friendship was cut short by Jones' brain cancer. The two knew each other for less than five months, but those five months may have been the happiest of Jones' life.
While Kemp could do nothing about Jones' health, he certainly made a young man very happy, which is all anyone could've asked.
Hopefully Kemp realizes how much impact he had on Jones' life, and all athletes can learn just how much they mean to their fans from this experience.
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