Fairhaven resident gets her wish on 108th birthday

BALTIMORE — Edith VanSaun had never been to a Boston Red Sox game.

The lifelong Red Sox fan, originally from Massachusetts, has been around for a lot of monumental events in the franchise's history.

During VanSaun's lifetime, the Sox have won six World Series championships. There have been legends such as Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams, to modern-day stars such as Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.

But VanSaun had never seen her favorite team play in person. So she had one wish for her 108th birthday — finally go to a Red Sox game.

VanSaun has resided at Fairhaven, a continuing-care retirement community in Sykesville, since 1999. And with Boston coming to Baltimore on Tuesday, her birthday, to play the Orioles at Camden Yards, it worked out perfectly.

"Truly, it had to be meant to be," said Ann Patterson, the administrator at Fairhaven.

So her niece Pat Holleran bought the tickets and at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, VanSaun, along with Holleran and caretaker Yvonne Doler, left en route for Oriole Park. They sat in Section 230 in the club level, enjoying the lounge pregame before heading out to their seats shortly before 7 p.m.

"I'm glad to finally see them, see a game," VanSaun said.

Before the top of the eighth inning, VanSaun was shown on the video board with a "Happy Birthday" message. VanSaun smiled and clapped as the 24,184 in attendance at Camden Yards gave her a loud ovation.

VanSaun lived in both Massachusetts and New Jersey earlier in her life. She has only had two operations, both since turning 100.

And on her birthday last year, Holleran said her aunt was not feeling well.

"But this year, her health has allowed her to have a great birthday," Holleran said.

At Fairhaven, they held a party for VanSaun at 3 p.m., as she blew out the candles on her birthday cake, and celebrated before her trip to Baltimore.

"She was very excited," Patterson said.

The game didn't start great for fans of either team. There was a 15-minute rain delay just 11 minutes after the first pitch. And then a much longer rain delay shortly after.

But that didn't damper the excitement for VanSaun at her first game. She, Holleran, and Doler, were enjoying watching the Camden Yards grounds crew in action during the second-inning rain delay and had no plans of leaving early.

After all, they were just thrilled the Sox happened to be in town on VanSaun's birthday and nothing could've been better than that.

"It's so beautiful that when she decided she wanted to go," Holleran said, "that the Red Sox just happened to be playing here."

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