Here’s the latest announcement from the Yankees about today’s HOPE Week event. Best one yet? Might be. Here’s the press release from the Yankees.
The New York Yankees are proud to continue HOPE Week 2011 (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) on Friday by celebrating 21-year-old John Lahutsky.
In the company of Yankees Manager Joe Girardi, John will be reunited on the TODAY show with Andrei Sullivan, 19, who was his best friend from the Moscow orphanage they grew up in. John and Andrei have not seen each other in person since Andrei was adopted in 1997.
Neither of the young men know they are about to be reunited. John has been told he is going on the show solely to speak about his experiences in the orphanage, and Andrei (whose entire family has been flown in from Michigan) has been told that his hotel gave his family free tickets to see the TODAY show.
Following their initial reunion, John and Andrei will take an hour-long NBC Studio Tour before joining Yankees players Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Hector Noesi and Yankees coaches Kevin Long and Larry Rothschild in touring the Central Park Zoo followed by an outdoor lunch on the grounds. In the evening, they will be guests of the team for its 7:05 game vs. Baltimore at Yankee Stadium.
Please note that this reunion would not be possible without the support of Delta Air Lines, which has provided complimentary air transportation for the entire Sullivan family, including Andrei, his parents, Tom and Roslyn, his brother and sister, John and Sarah, and two teenage Russian orphans, Mikhail and Alexander, whom the family is hosting in their Michigan home this summer.
THE STORY OF JOHN LAHUTSKY
John Lahutsky, 21, was born prematurely at 6 months, weighing just two pounds. At 18 months, he was placed by his birth mother in the Russian orphanage system, which considered him an “incurable” due to his cerebral palsy.
His “Baby House” offered him no education or physical therapy. From the time he entered the facility until he was 5 years old, he was never taken outside the walls of the building.
Despite the horrendous treatment he received, he always looked after his best friend in the unit, Andrei, even teaching Andrei how to talk after picking up Russian from the few nurses that treated him with decency. Andrei was adopted in 1997, but John had to wait until 1999 before being adopted by Paula Lahutsky of Bethlehem Township, Penn., who read about him in a church newsletter.
John recently wrote a book, The Boy from Baby House 10, which details his experiences in the Russian orphanage system. His hope is that by telling his story, he can prevent the abuses he suffered from happening to others.