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      Twelfth Annual Miracle League opener: a place for athletes to shine

      Children and adults in Myrtle Beach had the chance to step up to the plate Saturday for opening day of the Grand Strand Miracle League.

      Athletes at the event all seemed to have one thing in common: a smile.

      "It's a joy being with the special olympians and having a great time with them," explained special Olympian Brenda Purvis.

      Purvis, 25, was born with Down Syndrome. On Saturday, she and her teammates played against local celebrities in a game with simple rules: everyone plays, everyone crosses home plate and everyone wins.

      But, as Brenda's father, Michael, can attest: life hasn't always been a home run. When brenda was younger, she was bullied.

      "We all face that at times where ignorance takes over and they use the r word which we all detest, anyone involved with Down Syndrome or special needs, the r word is a very discouraging word and that brought tears to her eyes. Once she said to me, twelve years old, Dad I don't want to have Down Syndrome anymore, I just cried there's nothing I can do about it," Purvis said.

      Brenda and her Dad say it's playing baseball that keeps her smiling. Purvis is surrounded by a team of special olympians all sharing in their love for the game.

      "My heart like races and I get so excited," Purvis explained, describing what it's like to hit.

      Baseball is also a chance for Brenda to prove those name callers wrong, reminding the world that she's just as gifted as everyone else.

      "That's exactly how Brenda feels about it, look at me, I'm beautiful."

      One of the celebrities at Saturday's game included WPDE's Chief Meteorologist Ed Piotrowski.