Print and Go Back ESPN [Print without images]

Monday, June 14, 2004
Sonia Rojas suffers from a kidney ailment

Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Two days after pitching his high school team to the New York City public school championship, Danny Almonte issued an appeal on behalf of his mother.

Sonia Rojas, 30, is suffering from a kidney ailment in the Dominican Republic and lacks the funds to pay for treatment.

"I need help urgently," Almonte told The Associated Press on Sunday in a telephone interview from New York. "Help me save my mother. It's urgent that my mother comes to the United States to receive the treatment she needs. She'll die quickly if she stays in the Dominican Republic. There are various people that will help her if mommy arrives in the United States."

Almonte, whose perfect game in the 2001 Little League World Series was erased when he was found to be too old, threw a one-hitter Friday night to give James Monroe Campus High School a 4-0 win over George Washington at Shea Stadium.

Then, his focus shifted to his mother, who has had a tumor on her left kidney for the past six years and needs regular dialysis treatment.

Doctors have said that an operation is not possible.

"There is no cure," Rojas said. "It's like a death sentence."

She receives two shots daily and needs dialysis every 20 days. The treatment costs about $500 a month, an exorbitant amount in this country. Rojas separated from her husband 14 years ago, and she cannot work because of her illness.

In 2001, Rojas failed to obtain a U.S. visa to reunite with her son, who is now 17. It was not clear if she was reapplying for one.

Almonte can be drafted by a major league team after his two remaining years of high school eligibility are up in June 2006.

"I only hope that my mother can wait until then," Almonte said. "That is when I'll be able to begin earning money to help her."