AUDUBON — An 11-year-old South Jersey boy will throw the ceremonial first pitch at Thursday's Philadelphia Phillies home opener.

Daniel Schaffer of Audubon is a patient at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, and was selected to represent the hospital.

His father Dave told 6 ABC Action News his son, who has a mild case of cerebral palsy, recently had a seven-hour surgery at the hospital to lengthen and rotate his legs. He has been rehabbing at Nemours duPont Pediatrics in Cherry Hill, but went back to Delaware on Wednesday for a party to celebrate Opening Day, and met the Phillie Phanatic.

The fourth-grader at the St. Rose of Lima School in Haddon Heights told 6 ABC he really wanted to throw out the pitch and has been practicing with his brother. A video on his dad's Facebook page showed him at the hospital party throwing pitches to Mickey Morandini, a member of the 1993 Phillies National League championship team.

"Daniel has been an inspiration to all of us as we have watched him recover from major leg surgery with strength, humor, and grace," the alumni association of St. Rose of Lima School wrote on its Facebook page.

Daniel is also a big Eagles and Flyers fan and is looking forward to cheering on Bryce Harper, the newest member of the Phillies.

"Daniel’s amazing determination, and his love of all Philadelphia sports, made him the perfect person to represent Nemours by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch," hospital spokeswoman Nancy D'Argenio said in an email.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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