EUGENE, Ore. -- The crowd roared as 4-year-old Jillian Beagley took the mound at PK Park Saturday night to throw out the first pitch of the Eugene Emerald’s game.
There at her side with words of encouragement was her favorite super hero, Wonder Woman.
Saturday night wasn’t the first time Jillian’s idol coached her through a big moment. Jillian, who was diagnosed with a rare type of liver disease at 3 months old, had a surprise visit from Wonder Woman when was receiving treatment in the hospital in June.
Jillian’s parents Ryan and Jennifer say doctors at Doernbecher Children's Hospital saved her life with a special procedure that helps people living with Biliary Atresia.
“The short version of a long story is that at some point in her life, she will need to have a liver transplant,” said Jillian’s father, Ryan Beagley.
Last month the Beagley's traveled to Doernbecher for a bone marrow biopsy the same day the Portland Superheroes Coalition visited sick children.
“You see Wonder Woman and Superman show up, and then I looked at Jillian and asked if she wanted to go say hi. There was no hesitation, she just ran right up to her,” said Beagley.
Since that day Jillian has had a very special connection to her new favorite superhero.
"Did you like Superman and Batman and all them? Or did you just like wonder woman?," Ryan asked his daughter.
“I just like wonder woman,” she replied. ““I like her so much and she's my best friend ever!”
Ryan heard the Portland Superhero Coalition was coming to the Em's game Saturday night, so he sent them a message on Facebook.
“Next thing I know, (Wonder Woman) is saying ‘Hey, would it be OK if she throws out the first pitch with me?’,” said Beagley.
Little Jillian spent the whole week fine-tuning her t-ball skills for the big day.
“I was trying to throw the pitch and it was so close,” said Jillian.
After tossing the ball to the Em’s catcher Jillian got the game ball - and a big hug from her best friend.
“I almost lost it when Jillian first ran up there and Wonder Woman gave her a cape and everything. Just that connection you see it there. And for the journey that we've been through, the struggles, the hard times, the pain… it's not there. It’s Jillian being a child, looking up to a role model that's a good person,” said Beagley.
In October the Beagley's will hold their annual toy drive with students from the University of Oregon to collect toys for the Doernbecher Children's Hospital.