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'Headley's Heroes' to honor brave child on Sunday

Third baseman starts initiative to applaud special members of the community

SAN DIEGO -- Chase Headley spent part of Friday at the Rady Children's Hospital, visiting patients at the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders unit.

It was the first stop for an initiative that the Padres' third baseman and his wife, Casey, have started to identify and honor local heroes, called "Headley's Heroes."

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The initiative will officially kick-off on Sunday at Petco Park when Headley, through a partnership with Rady, will host 4-year-old leukemia patient Boyd Stockmeyer and his family before the Padres game against the Nationals.

On Friday, though, Headley stopped by the Peckham Center to visit many of its young patients, sign a few autographs and talk baseball and life.

"You go there to help them, but they end up helping you," Headley said before Friday's game. "They're fighting and courageous and they're still in great moods.

"When you get the opportunity to go visit some kids, maybe brighten up their day, even for just a few minutes, you do it. It really puts things in perspective."

Headley said a majority of the participants in "Headley's Heroes" will be from the children's hospital, but could include others from the San Diego community.

Stockmeyer's experience Sunday will include: field level tickets, breakfast at the park, a meet and greet with Headley in the Padres dugout, photo opportunities with various Padres players, special in-game matrix message, Headley's Heroes shirts, hats and bags, framed certificate, transportation to and from ballpark compliments of UBER, food vouchers and much more.

"We're playing a game for a living and these kids are going through some tough things. Anything we can do to help, is great. It's a great thing to be a part of," Headley said. "It's a little way of saying thank you, a way to give back and a way to integrate ourselves with the San Diego community."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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