Doris Aylor has been a “die-hard” Kansas City Royals fan since the team’s 2014 World Series appearance.
The 100-year-old hospice patient will fulfill a dream Thursday when she gets to watch her beloved Royals, live and in person, for the first time.
The game is a first for both Aylor and Omaha, with the matchup between the Royals and Detroit Tigers the first regular season major-league baseball game ever to be played in the city.
Doris’ fandom hasn’t been long-standing, but she’s about as passionate as anyone could be.
It began with her son Larry Aylor, who spent multiple weekends with her in the summer of 2014. The two watched several games together that summer.
“For some reason, she got really hooked on it,” said Susie Sochor of Doniphan, Nebraska, Doris’ daughter. “The next year, she watched them the entire season, and they won the World Series. She’s followed them ever since — win, lose, or lose some more.”
While Doris’ enthusiasm for the Royals began with her son, Thursday’s trip to Omaha originated with Libby Todd, a social worker at the Tabitha hospice in Grand Island.
“I noticed when I visited with Doris, she really perked up when we talked about the Kansas City Royals,” Todd said. “So I had a thought about her going to a game; just that thought got the ball rolling.”
Todd said Doris “lit up like a Christmas tree” when asked if she wanted to see the Royals play. “Yes, I do want to go,” Doris told Todd.
From there, things fell into place.
“It really was due to a force greater than myself,” Todd said. “The stars all aligned.”
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After running into problems finding tickets, Todd reached out to the Dreamweaver Foundation, an Omaha nonprofit that works to provide memorable experiences to terminally ill seniors. The foundation handles the costs and logistics of the experience, working with the nominator to make the dream a reality.
While Dreamweaver is handling most of the arrangements for Thursday’s trip, the four tickets came from a different source: Royals starting pitcher Homer Bailey.
Doris will be traveling from Grand Island, where she’s lived since October 2018, to Omaha with her nurse, Rose Dinan, and Pat Haag, a nurse’s assistant at Tabitha. Son Larry is driving to Omaha from his home in Louisburg, Kansas, to join them.
Doris and her care team will be coming to the game in a limo. Todd said Wednesday that the trio will be “arriving in style,” but she also said that taking a limo makes the trip simpler.
“Medical transportation is hard to come by, especially out west here, so being able to go by limo made it a lot easier,” she said.
Judy Aylor, Doris’ other daughter, who lives in Aurora, Colorado, said her mother has been having some memory problems, but never forgets to tune in and watch the Royals.
Doris’ favorite players are Salvador Perez and former Nebraska standout Alex Gordon. Sochor said her mother would “probably take a kiss from either one of them.”
Doris said in an interview Wednesday that it was “wonderful” to get the chance to attend the game.
Her daughters said they are “thrilled” for their mom.
“I’m getting choked up here, but I can’t believe how caring these people are,” Sochor said. “We just feel so blessed that they’ve worked so hard to make this dream come true for her.”
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