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Kleenex spotlights Special Needs Baseball

A screenshot from the Kleenex tribute to Donnie Jones and his Special Needs Baseball league. A screenshot from the Kleenex tribute to Donnie Jones and his Special Needs Baseball league.

The story of Donnie Jones and his Special Needs Baseball League is highlighted in a 2-minute film made by Kleenex that went live on Facebook Friday.

Called “Play Ball,” the 1 minute, 51 second film was made by the largest producer of television commercials in America, Jones said. After a crew filmed games on a Saturday in July, the tissue company launched the video on its Facebook page on Friday. It shows a scene of Jones wiping a tear with a tissue and ends with the tagline, “Everyone Needs One.”
The video opens with a question superimposed over the Jackson Park baseball diamond. "How do you tell a kid with special needs they can’t play baseball? On this field you don’t.”
“My name’s Donnie Jones and I’m from Hendersonville, North Carolina,” says the founder, who runs his own car detailing business when he's not pitching and grinning. “It’s a small town and you know most everybody. That’s what I like most about it. When I was coaching 10-year-olds I noticed some special needs kids watching their siblings play and it just kind of came to me that there wasn’t a league around here that they could play in, and now we’re over a hundred players from five different counties. We don’t have outs, we don’t have strikes, we just get out there to have fun. Everybody wins.”
“Donnie is one of the most giving souls that you’ll ever meet,” the mother of Adrian, a player with cerebral palsy, says in the film. “Nobody comes out here and has a bad time and it’s because of Donnie.”
“Just seeing the joy and excitement they have getting to do it makes all the work worth it. What they deal with every day is unreal,” Jones says. “They’re my heroes. That’s what this is all about — just lettin’ kids be kids. I get to be a kid with them.”