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This fundraiser ended on 10/16/12

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Please help raise money to help Keith Rawlins with his recovery after losing his left eye in a freak accident! Thank you!

Keith Rawlins and his 15-year-old daughter, Jenna, entered Progressive Field in Cleveland on July 20 excited to see the Indians battle the Orioles, followed by a postgame Rock N’ Blast Fireworks Show. He exited the stadium strapped securely to a board carried by six paramedics.

Keith, a 46-year-old Rochester, NY native, was the victim of a slicing foul ball that caved in his left orbital socket, leaving him blind in that eye. And problems have only multiplied since the tragedy.

It was the top of the ninth inning in a game the Indians would ultimately lose 10-2. Keith, with his daughter by his side, had been seated in Section 171, Row 12, Seat 5. While most in the section had vacated – as ordered by ushers, since the section would be closed off at game’s end for fireworks – Keith and Jenna stayed until the 2nd batter in the 9th inning. At that point they climbed the stairs from their seats in the lowest section among the left field crowd to the walkway above.

They never made it to the top step. Orioles lefty Endy Chavez rifled a line drive that Keith was unable to locate in time. He was only able to get his head about a quarter-turn to the left before the ball connected with his left eye. Had he not turned his head, the outcome may have been much worse.

Keith knew immediately what happened and felt the severe damage. As he was kneeling down and trying to apply direct pressure to the eye, he started started yelling for help and Jenna started screaming hysterically.

After fighting for his life in the ambulance, Keith was brought to the MetroHealth Trauma Center in downtown Cleveland and rushed into 10+ hours of surgery. The structural damage around the eye was severe and the procedure that the trauma team used in surgery was new to them.

After a 5 day stay in MetroHealth, Keith was brought back to Rochester to continue his recovery. Since he cannot return to his 30-year career as a machinist, he was terminated by his employer. He will never be able to return to that career and it is undetermined right now if and when he be able to return to the workforce. He has gap health insurance coverage with a very high price tag. Out-of-pocket costs for doctor visits and prescription medicines are high as well.

In the weeks following the tragedy he has seen numerous doctors and has incurred over $60,000 in medical expenses. Health insurance is only covering a portion of the expenses and there are plenty more expenses to be incurred. Last week Keith was told that the eye is not healing as the doctors were hoping and there is a good chance that he will lose the eye completely and will have a prosthetic eye put in. More medical procedures, more medical expenses.

To date, the Cleveland Indians have offered Keith nothing more than a "fan pack" and do not admit any liability for the injury. There’s a disclaimer on the back of the baseball tickets that warn fans to look out for balls. The warning says the team is not liable for injuries. However, by asking him to move the team put Keith in a position where he couldn’t sufficiently pay attention. If he was still sitting in his seat at the time the ball was hit, no injury would have happened (to him anyway).

Keith does not want to see this type of thing happen to anyone ever again. He has started a Facebook Page, "Make MLB Safe for Fans." Please join the Facebook page and support Keith's mission for fan safety at MLB games.
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